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Shortlist 2019

Oleksandr Rupeta

Oleksandr Rupeta is a Ukrainian photographer, works worldwide.  

The Problem

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"Homosexuality does not exist in China" - this is modern China's position on lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) identities. Moreover, national authorities turn a blind eye to their activities, so long as these are not reflected publicly. Meanwhile, Chinese mythological stories and traditional folktales are full of same-gender love plots. From the Rabbit Deity, the Daoist patron god of gay men, to famous Chinese legends such as the Butterfly Lovers, a tragic love story filled with homoerotic subtext. However, despite the country's conservative attitude toward homosexuality (today clinics in China continue to offer "conversion therapy" to LGBT people intended to alter their sexuality), younger generations are much more supportive of LGBT people, bridging the divide between China's folktales of acceptance and politics of oppression.