Calling it “the end of the rainbow,” the oldest and biggest Pride event in China announced it is cancelling all events for the immediate future. ShanghaiPRIDE, which held its first event in 2009 and has served as a beacon of hope and place of celebration for the nation’s LGBTQ+ community ever since, made the announcement in a statement on its website.
“ShanghaiPRIDE regrets to announce that we are cancelling all upcoming activities and taking a break from scheduling any future events,” the announcement reads.
The announcement gave no reason for the cancellations, but ShanghaiPRIDE co-founder Charlene Liu was quoted in Radii China citing safety issues as driving the final decision.
“This decision was difficult to make, but we have to protect the safety of all involved,” says co-founder Charlene Liu, ShanghaiPride co-founder is quoted in Radii China. “It’s been a great 12-year ride, and we are honored and proud to have traveled this journey of raising awareness and promoting diversity for the LGBTQ community.”
The first ShanghaiPRIDE event took place in 2009 as a small “celebration of acceptance and diversity” with the hopes of instilling a “sense of belonging” and to “nurture an environment of inclusion and love.” The announcement went on to note the importance of ShanghaiPRIDE to the community by helping queer Chinese to embrace their sexuality and individuality.
“Pride has a lot of different meanings for different people – for us, it has always been about showing our community that not only is there nothing wrong with who we are, but that our identities and the people that we love are worth celebrating.”
ShanghaiPRIDE made extensive use of volunteers to promote visibility for LGBTQ+ issues throughout the year in China, but their main event usually took place in June to coincide with international Pride month. The events ranged from panel discussions and other social events to an annual film festival.
It is unclear at this time if or when ShanghaiPRIDE will resume holding events. For the time being, though, the group wants to assure the LGBTQ+ community in China they haven’t forgotten about their shared history together.
“We love our community, and we are grateful for the experiences we’ve shared together,” the statement reads. “No matter what, we will always be proud – and you should be, too.”