Taobao in conjunction with Danlan, a gay-oriented website, Blued, Bliss, and over a dozen advocacy groups including the Beijing LGBT Center partnered up to give 10 lucky Chinese couples the chance to fly over to California, one of 37 states to issue gay marriage licences, and marry their sweetheart as part of a public campaign called We Do.
From thousands of entries the final round of voting was whittled down to 20 lucky couples, who were then vying for the public's attention to garner votes and secure their plane seats. Today, after over 75,000 votes had been cast, those 10 lucky couples have been selected, and comments from one couple, Lin Tao and Zhou Yanghai, were released by the Wall Street Journal.
“We’re so excited about this,” Mr. Zhou told China Real Time Wednesday. “This is the best Valentine’s gift for us,” added Mr. Zhou, who lives in Shanghai.
Homosexuality discussions in China are very rare, so for a large company like Alibaba to promote a campaign of this magnitude suggests a change in attitudes is happening, which is supported by a recent survey conducted by YouGov that shows around 60% of Chinese citizens agree, to an extent, that homosexuality should be accepted by society.
A spokesperson from Taobao also released a statement saying that it was the first time the company had conducted such an activity and that the activity was designed in the hope of fostering respect and understanding of homosexuality and realizing their dreams.
To build hype for the event Taobao also began advertising gay marriage tours to some of the most popular destinations that permit same-sex unions, including countries like Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
Photo courtesy Hubert Yu
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