Pride events kick off in Shanghai with city run

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - More than 100 people took part in the Shanghai’s eighth annual Pride Run on Sunday, one of a series of events over nine days in China’s financial hub to raise public awareness for the LGBT community.

Waving banners with rainbows on them and sticking temporary rainbow tattoos on their cheeks, participants ran two routes through the city center, ranging from 6 to 12 kilometers (4-7 miles).

“Raise The Pride”, which will also include talks and workshops, runs from June 13 to 21 and coincides with similar events in other cities around the world for Pride month.

“It’s my first time to join the Pride Run. I want to join because I am a cross-country racer in the school and I stand with equal rights as an LGBTQ member,” said Jacky Zhou, 16, as she prepared for the run.

“I hope this running event can help us promote the power of the rainbow. I am so excited now and I hope I can finish it.”

Social distancing restrictions, imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have largely been lifted in Shanghai in recent months after a sharp drop in nationwide cases, although the capital Beijing is grappling with a new cluster of coronavirus infections.

Homosexuality is legal in China and the country stopped classifying it as a mental disorder in 2001. However same-sex marriage is not recognized and concerns over stigma still dissuades people from coming out to their families.

Reporting by Xihao Jiang and Brenda Goh; Editing by William Mallard