Our City of Colours challenges lesbian invisibility in Chinese Canadian community
Our City of Colours has released its third poster, as part of its effort to increase the visibility of queer people in various local cultural and ethnic communities.
Previously, the grassroots project released a poster in Chinese and English featuring two gay men, then one in Farsi with a Persian guy.
This time, the project takes on the female side of things.
A cheerful, colourfully dressed Chinese female named Ambre is featured in a poster, surrounded by text in Chinese and English that describe her characteristics and interests, such as being a Sagittarius business student born in the Year of the Ox. At the bottom, it states that she has a girlfriend.
The choice of the word “girlfriend” leaves things ambiguous. That word, in both English and Chinese, can be interpreted simply as Ambre having a platonic female friend. It’s less obvious that it implies an intimate same-sex lover. It's less loaded than if it were describing a guy with a boyfriend (as was the case in the Persian poster).
However, for viewers who think it’s a singles ad (geared at breeder boys), they’re in for a surprise when they punch in the address for the group’s Facebook webpage listed at the bottom. They'll discover it's an LGBT project. So perhaps it’ll be an indirect way to lure in viewers who might not otherwise be interested.
That approach might be a rather apropos way of broaching a controversial, taboo subject, one that has been highly divisive among members of the Chinese Canadian community.
Just last week (on November 1), Burnaby Teachers' Association vice-president James Sanyshyn revealed that a Burnaby teacher and one other person in the school board district received death threats in response to policy 5.45, which was designed to protect all students—whether straight, gay, or bisexual—from homophobic and gender bullying. The policy had been opposed by a group called Parents' Voice led by Charter Lau.
Our City of Colours, initiated by Chinese Canadian SFU student Darren Ho, was created in response to the need to help educate members of ethnic and linguistic communities who have limited access and exposure to information about LGBT people.
There will be six posters released in total. Four will be in Chinese, the previously mentioned Farsi has already been released, and there will be one to come in Punjabi, aimed at the South Asian Canadian community.
The Korean poster had to be delayed due to scheduling conflicts. Posters for other communities may also follow at some point in the future.