Queer Comrades: Interview with Stijn Deklerck
After that, I left China for a while and went back to Belgium where I did production on a couple of other documentaries and educational films, and where I also taught Chinese law at the University of Leuven.
While I was working/researching in China, I met Xiaogang, who was also an active volunteer in some of the organizations I worked with — we also worked together on the production of Living +. In 2007, he called me with this idea of setting up an LGBT webcast talkshow. As I was in Belgium, I couldn’t jump in immediately, but I decided to support him by providing the starting funds for the show. He worked with a lot of volunteers to set the show up, that we decided to call it Queer As Folk Beijing, at the time, and it became a success — in 2008 the Ford Foundation decided to sponsor it as one of their projects, and we’ve been getting their support ever since.
I came back to China in 2008, and then started to work as a full-time producer on the show, which was renamed Queer Comrades in 2009. It’s been and it still is really rewarding and exciting. As a producer I’m involved in not only fundraising, translating, report-making, setting up of events… but also program conception, interviewing, hosting, filming, editing.
As the whole LGBT movement in China has been evolving so much since 2007, it has been a blessing to be able to be there to observe/capture/report /participate in the whole thing. We’ve made more than 50 talkshows and/or documentaries on a whole wide range of LGBT topics in China, and we’ve produced more than 80 news items, which all together form an audio-visual archive of important queer happenings in Beijing and China throughout that period.
We’ve also gotten so many reactions from people watching the show, saying that it really helped them understand themselves and/or their LGBT friends, and that’s really rewarding.