[from Xtra.ca]Just one day after participating in the Outgames human rights conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, a group of Chinese lesbian activists got the news that the magazine they publish had been raided and all of the copies had been confiscated by the Beijing police.

According to Eva, a bisexual activist from Beijing, queer people in China always find a way to circumvent government censors — even if it means exposing them to police raids or condemnation from other authority figures. She said that this most recent obstacle would not deter activists from spreading the word about queer human rights — even if it means converting the magazine to an online format using foreign servers.

Speaking at an activist gathering in Copenhagen, Eva, Tatou and Gogo (all pseudonyms) spoke about the burgeoning queer women's movement in Beijing and the challenges associated with publishing an underground magazine in a country where such activities are closely monitored and censored.

Gathering in one of Copenhagen's oldest squats called "The People's House" last Thursday, the three women were taking part in a free human rights gathering following the main Outgames human rights conference.

The alternative gathering was organized by Danish queer activists, to protest against the fact that the main conference cost hundreds of dollars and was largely inaccessible to the local community. It also gave international delegates a chance to engage more deeply with local activists, mapping out strategies for how they might show solidarity across international borders.

Eva, Tatou and Gogo spoke about Les Plus Magazine — a politics and sexuality journal that they have been publishing since 2005. The magazine — unlike officially sanctioned media — contains graphic descriptions of queer sexuality paired with provocative photos and political analysis.

Until last week, their primary method of distribution was through the Beijing LGBT Centre. Since the majority of the copies have now been seized, the women will have to figure out how to continue publication under more intense scrutiny.

But Chinese queers are used to getting creative.

"We cannot just parade on the streets and ask for our rights," said Eva.

According to Eva, the gay, lesbian and transgender rights movement in China is still in its early stages and must use innovative strategies to get their message across.

Speaking over snacks and coffee prepared by local volunteers, Eva described the development of the first wave of open gay activism in China. From her description, the community really started to develop in the late 1990s, with a small profusion of dating websites, largely featuring same-sex personal ads.