Wu Youjian's son came out to her in 1999. Rather than react with shame like many parents in her country, the 63-year-old retired magazine editor accepted him and has since earned the nickname "Mama Wu" for her tireless activism on behalf of China's LGBT community. According to CNN.com:
Zheng Yuantao, 30, knows how lucky he is to have such a mother.
"Many of my gay friends are afraid of going home during holidays, because their parents would ask about girlfriends and press them to get married," he said.
"I grew up in a very open-minded family," he added. "I didn't have too much of a struggle about my sexuality."
Wu now devotes her time and energy to speaking up for gay acceptance by family and society. Her small frame belies her big role in China's gay community, where she is affectionately called "Mama Wu."
She taught herself to use a computer three years ago and now writes a blog that has clocked more than 2.2 million hits. She also tweets frequently, has launched a hotline and founded the country's first PFLAG - Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays - group in her hometown.
Homosexulity is not illegal in China, but gay activists often face resistance from state authorities including police raids and shutdowns of gay establishments. Wu herself has faced online criticism, but remains undaunted.
"It doesn't matter if our children are gay or straight - just like it doesn't matter if they are left-handed or right-handed," she said. "They are always our children."
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