A graduating student at Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-sen University came out of the closet on Saturday in dramatic fashion. At her class’s commencement ceremony, she had the university president join her at the podium in a call for LGBTQ rights.

Photo: 羊驼青 via Weibo.

Wearing a graduation gown with a rainbow flag on her shoulders, the young woman raised her arm in a show of solidarity with the gay community. The headmaster standing next to her also put up his arm.

Other pictures show the woman, known simply as “Alpaca Youth” on Chinese social media, posing with the rainbow flag around campus.

Photo: 羊驼青 via Weibo.
Photo: 羊驼青 via Weibo.
Photo: 羊驼青 via Weibo.
Photo: 羊驼青 via Weibo.

A message posted on her Weibo microblog account on Saturday night read: “I am a lesbian, I hope lesbians’ sexuality and sexual needs can be seen and acknowledged. I hope that legalisation for same-sex marriage is not the end but the beginning of equal rights, for those who choose not to marry as well! Students present [at the ceremony] gave me enormous encouragement. I love you!”

The message was reposted almost 4,500 times as of noon on Monday. It also attracted over 2,000 comments. Some criticised her for the high-profile move while many others commended her for her courage.

Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.