Xiao Tie works at Beijing's LGBT center, working to end discrimination against homosexuals in China.
Last February the battle became personal, when Xiao tried to marry her partner, Elsie Liao.
She went to the local Civil Affairs Bureau to apply for a marriage certificate .
“When we went to register, the local officer was a man,
he was very impolite and very bad to us.
He kept saying it's not possible, the marriage law says no and told us to go elsewhere.
But when we decided to do that we knew it would never happen, our main aim was to express our need," she said.
Xiao is part of a growing gay rights movement in China.
The Chinese government decriminalized homosexuality in 1997 and removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 2001.
Ah Qiang, who leads a Guangzhou-based NGO representing parents of gays and lesbians, visited Beijing with two of the parents from his organization.
One mother, who declined to give her name, said she had difficulty accepting her son's homosexuality.
“When my son was at middle school I already felt he wasn't like the others.
But as a mother I didn't dare to think my son was homosexual.
I didn't have the guts to go ask him,
because I was afraid he would think I knew and he didn't need to change.
I thought he was still young and immaculate ,he could still be changed,” she said.
In time, both she and another mother not only embraced their children's sexuality, but became gay rights activists themselves.
They signed an open letter from 100 parents of gays and lesbians to China's National People's Congress, urging the Chinese government to adopt same-sex marriage benefits.
Authorities never responded.
“Our homosexual children are in no way different to straight people.
We also want them to have a stable family life.
We ask the government to design such a law to give them this right,” she said.
Many families expect their children to marry and continue the filial line.
China's one child policy only increases that social pressure.
But Xiao and other activists say they want to be treated the same as heterosexuals—in the workplace, at home with their families, and have the right to marry the person they love.
treating a person or particular group of people differently, especially in a worse way from the way in which you treat other people, because of their skin colour, sex, sexuality, etc
He is passionately opposed to racial discrimination.
an official document that states that the information on it is true
The driver's certificate was suspended by the police.
to gradually become less, worse, or lower
I wish prices would decline.
the long tube in the body of a person or animal, through which food moves during the process of digesting food
Do not break the ink bag and cut the gut off.
perfectly clean or tidy
He wore an immaculate uniform for the date.