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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 282 > A BOLT FROM THE BLUED

A BOLT FROM THE BLUED

IT’S THE MOST POPULAR GAY APP IN THE WORLD AND IS CREDITED WITH TRANSFORMING THE LIVES OF QUEER MEN IN CHINA. NOW, BLUED IS LAUNCHING IN THE UK — AND WE COULD BE ABOUT TO LEARN AN IMPORTANT LESSON FROM AN UNLIKELY SOURCE

When I came out to my parents, my father was so upset he went out and got drunk. The next day he came home and told me that knowing I was gay made him want to commit suicide.”

These are the words of Ren Dameng, a 26-year-old designer from China’s Henan province, who now lives in the capital city, Beijing. He’s telling me how difficult it is to be gay in a country that values family above all else — and a country which, for more than 35 years, restricted its citizens to one child per family.

“My mum was calm when I told her I was gay,” he adds. “She said if I was happy and could afford to pay for my own life, then she’d support me. But she really wants grandchildren and I’m her only hope. Often she’ll print out photos of my cousin’s child or cute babies. I know what she’s getting at but I won’t pretend I’m straight, get married and have babies.”

Since graduating from university, Ren Dameng has been a regular user of Blued, a dating and social app credited with revolutionising life for gay men in China. With 21 million members (and a further six million in South East Asia), Blued is a mash-up of Grindr and Instagram with the social networking element of Facebook — and it’s this social function that first attracted Dameng.

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About Attitude

On the cover: Todrick Hall, Tyler Oakley and Joanne the Scammer Generation Hope! This issue Attitude profiles three of the digital world’s biggest personalities with exclusive shoots. Plus: How gay is David Walliams? Prison Break’s new bad guy Amin El Gamal. Hot yoga star Patrick Beach. And what it’s like being gay in China.
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