Alibaba is being praised by Chinese LGBT communities after releasing an advert featuring same sex couples in spite of government dissuasion and censorship.
In the advert a young man returns from Lunar New Year celebrations to his family home, introducing his male companion as Kelvin, drawing disapproving looks from his father.
Later, when the family are sat eating dinner, Kelvin refers to his partner’s father as “Dad” causing the family to react in awkward silence.
Though it is not made explicitly clear, some viewers have suggested that a pair of girls in the advert are also meant to represent a lesbian couple.
Alibaba's Tmall promo subtly shows gay and lesbian couples celebrating new year with their families. The ad doesn't explicitly mention LGBTQ but it's a rare representation done by a big Chinese company. pic.twitter.com/SxBYR4ekym
— Tony Lin (social distancing aka introverting) (@tony_zy) January 8, 2020
The advert has been shares widely across Chinese social media and praised by various groups and activists for its rare depiction of same sex couples.
A post by popular gay-themed account on China’s answer to Twitter Weibo, named Lovematters, was shared over 25,000 times.
“The support of large companies for sexual minorities is one of the important factors for sexual minorities to gain visibility and be seen and recognized by the public. Thank you Tmall!” it read.
The Chinese government dissuades and sometimes bans the depiction of same sex couples on entertainment and social media.
Alibaba is one of the country’s largest and most valued businesses, making its subtle advert all the more important.