by Amanda Weiss for The Beijinger
The Ford Foundation-funded television series QAF (Queer as Folk) Beijing 《同志亦凡人》is finishing up its second season. With documentary director Wei Xiaogang at its helm, the show aims to provide a forum for spirited discussions of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual) life in China. QAF Beijing airs at the Boat Bar every other Sunday and online at Xinlang and Youtube.
TBJ: Who is the main audience for your show?
WX: I know most people are actually from the Mainland, because on the website you can see who left messages. There are also messages from Japan, from Australia, from Korea. They might be Chinese abroad, because they leave messages in Chinese. But we also put it on Youtube and those messages are left in English. Our target audience is Mainland China.
TBJ: How were the reactions to the show online?
WX: On Youtube we had some horrible responses from foreigners—some were Christian, some were Muslim. There were two people having a competition over who could say the worst thing. If you have constructive comments or ideas, then go ahead and leave a message. If you truly are puzzled or you can’t really understand from your cultural perspective, I can understand that, but if you just don’t really have anything to say, just dirty words, it’s meaningless.
TBJ: Have you had good responses in the Mainland?
XG: Some good, some bad. We had over 2.5 million views on the Lesbian Sex Toys episode. For that episode, some [straight] men felt their so-called sexual rights had been challenged, and they used a variety of arguments to criticize it, “Oh these people think they don’t need us. Why would you become a lesbian? If you had met me you wouldn’t have become a lesbian.” Or, “If all women become lesbians, who will have children?” As if all women are made for procreating. And there were some people who thought, it isn’t natural, it’s against the natural order of things. [Laughs] We’re already not very natural. If we want to be “natural” let’s all take our clothes off and run into the woods.