They'll have resources that make conversations about sexuality easier — plus, Born This Way stickers.
Coming out to my Chinese mother was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do and I would not recommend it to a friend. My mom, who grew up in a country with lots of censorship, didn’t really understand what being queer meant and had a vague grasp of what being gay entailed through TV. “Coming out” as gay is deeply foreign to an older Chinese generation, many of whom never talked about sex — heterosexual or otherwise. As you can imagine, this can make it challenging for a young Chinese person to figure out how to start a conversation about queerness with their family.
Now, a Chinese organization called Trueself is doing God’s work by selling culturally competent guides that queer Chinese people can use to come out to their families and friends. Their kit, “A Journey to True Self,” will include step-by-step instructions for how to approach people about their sexuality, a planner, “Born This Way” stickers and prompt cards intended to lubricate uncomfy convos, all for $15.
The Trueself kit was created by Hu Zhijun, who founded Trueself and organized meetups for the LGBTQ+ community before they were disrupted by the ongoing COVID lockdowns in China, per Sixth Tone. Hu said he got the idea to start the kit because a lot of people were calling to tell him about how hard it was to start LGBTQ conversations with their parents, which is honestly something that every queer person in the world can probably relate to. ““It won’t be a one-size-fits-all package, but it will be a gift to discover one’s true self,” Hu told Sixth Tone.
Honestly, something like this would have been useful to me at one point and gamifying gayness is actually a cute and fun idea. Still, the fact that something like this costs $15 — not cheap in a country where the highest minimum wage is $3.90 an hour — means that not all queer people will be able to access this kit. Beyond that, this kit signifies to me that rainbow capitalism, a term used to describe the commercialization and commodification of LGBTQ movements and identity, is now in full swing in China.
Despite my reservations about this, I’m all for anything that’s going to make queer people’s lives easier. The emotional labor of coming out to family is overwhelming and there’s nothing wrong with delegating some of that work. But it’s still important to note that everyone is entitled to their own relationship to queerness and not everyone has to “come out” like they do in American movies. Your sexuality and gender identity are valid, whether or not you choose to tell.