In most people’s mind, Chinese are relatively conservative and traditional especially in terms of sex, which is partly true due to the immense immense impact of Confucianism and Taoism. However, throughout Chinese history and mythology, I would say China has a long history and tons of stories about homosexuality although today it is still illegal to get married for homosexual people in the country. BTW, congratulations to Australia! Same-sex marriage has been legal there since three months ago. Some homosexual stories in ancient China could be hard to tell at first glance since physical contacts were described quite implicitly and similarly to other social relationships for example a friendship. And interestingly there are much more male homosexuality stories than female homosexuality stories maybe due to the gender inequity.
Today we are going to talk about the god protecting homosexual men TuErShen兔儿神 , “rabbit deity” . In the book ZiBuYu子不语 from Qing Dynasty 清 朝, TuErShen was a man named HuTianBao胡天保, who fell in love a good-looking imperial inspector from Fujian福建 province who was also a man. He could do nothing but stalk him. He followed him everywhere when he was at work or traveled. Finally he got caught when he was peeking in the restroom one day. HuTianBao confessed his affections for the inspector that he couldn’t resist or forget his beautiful face. He used an analogy that although he knew normal birds could never land on the holy trees in the heaven, he still couldn’t control himself. The imperial inspector was not moved and maybe he was a straight guy and had HuTianBao sentenced to death by beating.
After one month, he appeared in the dream of a man from his hometown and said that I deserved my death since my shameful behavior offended the man with high position. However, it was due to love so the underworld officials appointed me as the god and safeguard of homosexual affections. After that people from HuTianBao’s hometown built a shrine for him and it later became popular in the province. I mean the god doesn’t have anything to do with rabbits like in the name. The reason is in Chinese slang “TuEr兔儿“ rabbits means homosexual males. Because male rabbits in nature they hump each other to show dominance.
According to another book CangHaiShiYi 沧海拾遗, there was a story about how TuErShen protected loving couples. YinShan殷善 and Genghan耿汉 were a pair of good-looking male couple and one day the invaders took away YinShan since the head of the invaders was a bisexual guy who was attracted by YinShan. Out of desperation, Genghan prayed under the moon that his lover would be back some day. Suddenly a beam of bright light shone from the sky with enchanting smell. He looked up and there a beautiful young man on five-colored clouds and said, “I am the rabbit deity and I want to help you. ” Accordingly he turned orchards in the garden where YinShan and Genghan made the promise to be together into gold orchards and said Genghan could redeem YinShan with the treasure. Of course it was a happy ending the two lovers got back together with the help of TuErShen.
Love is natural between or among anyone no matter the sex, race or age. Embrace your loved ones and you will get love back.
兔儿神TuErShen / Rabbit Deity