The World's Worst Place to be Gay? It's China, According to New Ranking

The worst place in the world for LGBT to live is China, according to a survey that puts Beijing at the bottom of a list of most welcoming cities, alongside several other Chinese cities.

To celebrate Pride Month, German housing website Nestpick ranked the most welcoming cities for people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. Beijing came last out of a 100 cities, while Shanghai sat at number 89 and Hong Kong at 83.

At the other end, Madrid topped the list, followed by Amsterdam, Toronto, Tel Aviv and London.

Last week, Shanghai Pride activists told The Daily Beast about LGBT life in China, saying that although gay clubs exist, few people come out as many people struggle to be accepted by families and the state. Homosexuality in China was decriminalized in 1997, and was removed from an official list of mental illnesses a few years later.

A 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center found that just 21 percent of China's population was in favor of homosexuality. There are clinics in China offer still offer "conversion therapy" to homosexuals.

Though most in China do not follow monotheistic religion, unlike many countries with low acceptance of homosexuality, many parts of society still hold conservative views on social issues. One of the activists who spoke to The Daily Beast, Charlene Liu, Shanghai Pride organizer, emphasized this: "The family culture—being able to start a family, getting married, having children to carry on the family name—that itself is one of the biggest issues in the country. And that leads to a whole set of different issues like, do I go into a marriage of convenience, do I become a single parent, and so on."

Two men
Sun Wenlin and his partner Hu Mingliang make their way to court to attend the trial over Sun's complaint against a civil affairs bureau for denying his right to marry in Changsha, Hunan province, China, April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer

However, a study conducted by Peking University in 2016 found that 58 percent of gay and straight Chinese people felt that LGBT people were ostracized by their families. In the same survey, just 15 percent of gay people said they had come out to their families, and fewer than half said that had gone well.

Though homosexuality is not illegal, the state does in some ways restrict LGBT visibility. China's strict censorship laws extend to film—as well as political censhorship, cutting scenes that portray the government in an unflattering light, the authorities have removed scenes depicting homosexuality, for instance, Michael Fassbender's gay alien kiss was cut out of the movie Alien: Covenant, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Hong Kong Lion
"Stephen", one of the two lions in rainbow colors to show support for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, is newly displayed at HSBC's main branch in Hong Kong, China December 7, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

However, despite a conservative society, younger generations are much more supportive of LGBT rights, with the majority in favor of same-sex marriage being legal. And, as the gay-friendly venue listings in Time Out and Conde Naste Traveler show, it's still possible to have fun.