I stumbled across a reference this week, while reading an article on the history of male prostitution in Singapore, to Tu’er Shen, a traditional Chinese gay rabbit god. Needless to say, I immediately googled to find out more.
According to his wikipedia page, Tu’er Shen “manages the love and sex between homosexual men.” The article says:
In a folk tale from 17th century Fujian, a soldier is in love with a provincial official, and spies on him to see him naked. The official has the soldier tortured and killed, but he returns from the dead in the form of a leveret (a rabbit in its first year) in the dream of a village elder. The leveret demands that local men build a temple to him where they can burn incense in the interest of “affairs of men”. The story ends:
According to the customs of Fujian province, it is acceptable for a man and boy to form a bond [qi] and to speak to each other as if to brothers. Hearing the villager relate the dream, the other villagers strove to contribute money to erect the temple. They kept silent about this secret vow, which they quickly and eagerly fulfilled. Others begged to know their reason for building the temple, but they did not find out. They all went there to pray.
The article went on to discuss the historical form of gay marriage practiced among the Hokkien-speaking people of Fujian province, whereby men would be joined by the rabbit god as recognised spouses for a period of twenty years, after which they would both be expected to take wives and have children.
Although little known to most Chinese people, the gay rabbit deity has recently been revived in Taiwan, where he has an LGBT-focused temple in Yonghe, North of Taipei, which gay couples visit to pray for the longevity of the relationships and leave offerings of carrots on the altar.
As far as I know though, the God of Gay Love has no temple in Hong Kong😦