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

One man has surmounted great obstacles to weave a web of support for China's gay population. Zhihua reports.

'You are at the other end of a cellphone, and from now on, I will never feel lonely."

This is the advertisement for a gay chat and dating app in China called Blued. It's used to locate and communicate with others, and it is gaining popularity among gay Chinese - the app has 1.5 million users 10 months after its launch.

Its creator is 36-year-old Ma Baoli, who goes by the alias Geng Le.

He has been increasingly busy meeting campaign partners for World AIDS Day on Dec 1 because he is also the founder and CEO of Danlan, a virtual community for gays in China with 3 million registered users.

Ma's gay rights advocacy started when he created a small biographical blog named Light Blue Memory in 2000.

"I had never expected that one day, Danlan's website and service would have so many users," Ma says.

"The Internet has changed the lives of gays in China, providing a great platform for us to get to know our own kind and to stop feeling lonely. I'm very happy to be part of that dynamic force."

In 1996, Ma started working as a policeman in his hometown, Qinhuangdao, Hebei province. He knew he was different from others because he was attracted to men rather than women.

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