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Dispute over cosplay association growing

(Global Times)

08:46, November 13, 2012

The stage lights glared down at the five dancers in a stadium in Wuhan on October 10.

The dancers, wearing thick makeup, high-heel shoes, silk stockings and miniskirts, shook their hips sensually on the stage.

They were all men - members of the Alice Cross-Dressers Association - and they were holding the show to celebrate the group's three-year anniversary.

More than 1,000 screaming fans had come from across China to attend the gala, which brought in tens of thousands of yuan in ticket sales.

Hao Ge, the head of the association who also performed in the show, had something else on his mind: a local media report that had criticized the association for "corrupting social values and morals".

According to the report, many people have accused the association of misleading young people, and some had even started a campaign against it. They called the members "Thai transvestites" and said they might cause youngsters to have wrong perceptions of gender.

"I said repeatedly that we're performers and lovers of Cosplay. We are totally different from Thai transvestites. Why did they accuse us of doing something we have never done?" a furious Hao said to the Global Times.

The association has gone through great challenges and come under huge pressure from tradition, society, their own parents, relatives and friends, for featuring cross-dressing in their act. In a society where concerns are being raised over Chinese boys becoming more effeminate, the association has been accused of "leading young people astray."

Early days

Established in October 2009, the association was, at one point, close to being dissolved due to its members constantly dropping out.

The association was first established by Hao Ge and some fans of animated films who wanted to play the female roles. "Many friends said we looked very much like girls, so we organized the association for fun," said Xiao Hua, one of the group's founders.

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