Forum for gays just a click away

Updated: 2013-12-01 06:49

By Zhihua (China Daily)

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Forum for gays just a click away

Ma Baoli and his team have been educating people on disease prevention and control, especially on HIV and AIDS, via online and offline activities. Photo Provided to China Daily

In 2009, the team decided to move it to Beijing because they believed the capital might be more tolerant.

Their decision proved to be right.

When they applied for the complicated government documents to get permission to run the website, a woman official told them it was great that they ran a website for gay people, as long as they were careful not to violate laws.

"I felt very encouraged," Ma says.

"The fact is, with the government and public's increasing understanding and tolerance of gay people, our lives are less in darkness, and we are able to receive kindness from society to some extent."

The website is growing fast and has branch sites.

It now provides not only worldwide news on gay rights but also dating and leisure content to millions of registered users and visitors.

Since 2007, it has been cooperating with government and other nongovernmental organizations to educate people about disease prevention and control, especially of HIV/AIDS.

Ma's office also serves as a free HIV/AIDS-testing station, under a program run by Chinese health authorities.

In late 2012, the team launched the app Blued, which was a big success that quickly attracted investors.

On Nov 26, 2012, before World AIDS Day on Dec 1, then vice-premier Li Keqiang (now the premier) met with Ma and heads of other 11 grassroots organizations to commend their efforts to enable everyone to live with dignity.

However, Ma lost his job as a policeman that year because of the exposure of his identity in the media.

"I just hope all gay people in China can be happy and enjoy life with support from people around them," he says.