Chinese President Xi Jinping recently became the latest in a long line of autocrats to treat anyone who does not conform to conventional gender norms – particularly gay and effeminate men – as menaces to society. But what is it about “non-manly” men that so terrifies dictators?
MOSCOW – China’s government has banned “sissy” and “effeminate” males from television, part of a vicious propaganda campaign that brands them as “abnormal” and somehow in violation of the country’s morals. President Xi Jinping’s targeting of gay men – and of anyone who doesn’t conform to conventional standards of masculinity – should not be surprising. Homophobia is an authoritarian trademark.