Tu Er Shen

Tu Er Shen is a Chinese deity who manages the love and sex between men. His name literally means "rabbit deity".

According to Zi Bu Yu, a book written by Yuan Mei (??, a Qing dynasty writer), Tu Er Shen was a man called Hu Tian Bao . Hu loved an officer and was killed by him. After Hu died, he become a deity of homosexuality.

In Chinese folklore, Hu Tianbao (sometimes rendered 'Wu Tien Bao') was a god to whom men in the city of Fuzhou, Fujian province, prayed when they had fallen in love with a male youth and wanted to win his affections. If their prayers were answered they would come to the god's temple, known as "The Small Official Temple", and smear pig intestines mixed with sugar on the god's mouth.

According to "the Tale of the Rabbit God", which appears in the Zibuyu, Hu Tianbao was originally a man who fell in love with a handsome young imperial inspector of the Fujian Province. One day Hu Tianbao was caught peeping on the inspector, at which point he confessed his reluctant affections for the other man. The imperial inspector had Hu Tianbao sentenced to death by beating. Since his crime was one of love, underworld officials decided to right the injustice by delegating Hu Tianbao as the god and safeguarder of homosexual affections.

The practice was documented by Zhu Gui (1731-1807), grain tax circuit intendant of Fujian in 1765, in his "Prohibition of Licentious Cults". In it he describes a statue in the temple, "The image is of two men embracing one another; the face of one is somewhat hoary with age, the other tender and pale." He goes on to describe the practice: "All those debauched and shameless rascals who, on seeing youths or young men, desire to have illicit intercourse with them pray for assistance from the plaster idol. Then they make plans to entice and obtain the object of their desire. This is known as the secret assistance of Hu Tian Bao." The statue and a wooden tablet found with it were destroyed by Zhu Gui in an attempt to "improve the morals" of the locals.

In order to cater to the needs of modern homosexuals, the religion has been resuscitated in Taiwan. The present temple, in Yonghe City was founded by Lu Wei-ming, a Taoist priest, or fashi .


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