Annise Parker Praises Shanghai For Its Acceptance Of Gays

Mayor Annise Parker is in the midst of the first big international trip of her term, a visit to China.

She's attending the World Expo in Shanghai (Motto: "Yes, they still have World Fairs"), and in a speech cited the city's openness to gays as a source of its strength.

"To boost development, a city needs to be open to a full range of people, especially the innovative ones who break barriers, like people of the gay community," she said, according to the Xinhua news agency.

"Shanghainese and Houstonians are similar. They care about what you do, not who you are," Parker said.

Being gay in China is a tough gig, but Shanghai is the best place to be, apparently. Last year the city hosted the country's first gay pride festival.

Parker's trip is designed to encourage trade between China and Houston. She told the news agency that she expects direct flights between the two destinations to be inaugurated sometime next year.

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