Local law is ambiguous in its attitude to LGBT people; generally the authorities take a dim view of same-sex couples but there’s an increasingly confident scene, as indicated by gay bars and the annual event-stuffed Shanghai Pride (www.shpride.com). Shànghǎi heterosexuals are not, by and large, particularly homophobic, especially the under-40s. Young Chinese men sometimes hold hands; this carries no sexual overtones.
For up-to-date information on the latest gay and lesbian hot spots in Shànghǎi and elsewhere throughout China, try Utopia (www.utopia-asia.com/chinshan.htm). For further tips, check out Travel Gay Asia (www.travelgayasia.com).