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  • Ma Baoli, better known as Geng Le,

  • is one of the four Grand Marshals leading New York’s Pride Parade this year.

  • But in the country he comes from, being gay is still a social taboo.

  • The CEO of a Beijing-based internet company

  • is on a mission to improve the lives of millions of gay men in China.

  • Ma’s company Blue City runs an app and a website specifically for gay men.

  • Blued is one of the biggest gay social networking apps in the world,

  • with an estimated 30 million registered users.

  • Unlike most other apps, Blued is more than just dating or hookups.

  • Back in 2000, when Ma studied at a police school in northern China,

  • he realized he didn’t feel like everyone else.

  • After visiting some foreign websites with different attitudes to homosexuality,

  • Ma created his own site for a Chinese audience, encouraging people that...

  • Even though attitudes towards homosexuals are slowly changing in China,

  • it’s still a social stigma.

  • The virtual world of Blued, where members can be open about their sexuality,

  • is for most a striking contrast to their real lives.

  • This is livestreaming, a function added to Blued in late 2015,

  • right as the Internet craze was starting to take off in China.

  • Many self-made stars like Jin make decent amount of money

  • by receiving audience’s virtual currencies and gifts.

  • For Kyle and Klaus, a couple who have come out,

  • livestreaming on Blued means something different.

  • The government's rules for "acceptable" content online may shift quickly in China,

  • with LGBT materials in a grey area.

  • Many companies feel the chill of the recent Internet crackdown,

  • but Blue City still runs as usual.

  • Ma has won the Chinese government’s trust by helping with HIV prevention among gay men.

  • A third of the company’s staff are dedicated to screening pornographic and politically sensitive content.

  • In the past five years, Blue City has grown from a team of seven people

  • to a promising business with about 250 staff.

  • Ma said the company earned over $15 million last year

  • mainly through advertising and selling virtual currencies to livestreaming audience.

  • Now the company is expanding overseas.

Ma Baoli, better known as Geng Le,

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