A professional surfer in China has come out publicly as gay, believed to be the first Chinese athlete who has come out as LGBT.
In a post on China’s popular messaging service Weibo, read by more than 360,000 people, ASam explained his decision (as translated by the Federation of Gay Games and Bing):
I am ASam. I will attend the global Gay Games in Paris, France, in August this year and serve as an ambassador.
Life is human, the ultimate measure of our inner courage.
Yes, I am gay.
We have the right to choose love and to be loved. Sex, age and skin color are not shackles.
We are all the same, living in the sun.
Today, I am brave to be my most true self, and I see it as the greatest gift I have ever given.
If my bravery brings comfort to those who feel lonely, and encourages them to support equality, then everything I do will be more meaningful.
The post was accompanied by ASam surfing against a rainbow backdrop:
While homosexuality is legal in China, LGBT people still face societal and legal pressure. We can’t find another example of a Chinese athlete who has come out as LGBT. We also don’t know how extensive ASam’s athletic background is, though the World Surf database lists a Xu Jingsen who competed professionally in 2013.
Surfing is not a sport at the Gay Games, but a photo from the Federation of Gay Games indicated ASam will be swimming and playing basketball. Regardless, he is taking a brave step forward for LGBT athletes from China.
The 2022 Gay Games will be held in the Chinese territory of Hong Kong.