MDes Graphics/​Illustration/​Photography School of Design

Yifei Xiang

My final project during my time at GSA is a highly personal collection of work, that presents an all-too-common experience of young people in the gay community in contemporary China. Homosexuality is still deeply misunderstood in Chinese society and there is a real lack of knowledge and understanding; I feel people don’t know us correctly. The work takes as its starting point, my own experiences of coming out to my mum, her reaction, and an encounter with a doctor who suggested “Homosexuality can be changed if you want it to be”.


My work has been motivated by my understanding of Illustration as primarily a method of communication; how it can, and has in the past, be used to powerful effect to communicate, inform, and educate society. When people engage with illustration, it is not limited to traditional spaces where art is experienced, but often makes more direct contact with people in the social world. This presents an opportunity—for illustrators—to make important social issues more visible to people and in my case raise awareness and address issues of care for minority groups.

Who Need Therapy

Who Need Therapy

This is a short story composed of five illustrations. Based on the issues I encountered growing up as a gay, I chose to focus on conversion therapy in this project. In this story Bunny Boy makes a compromise and gives up his bunny ears, but the last image reveals that these people offering and suggesting conversion therapy are the ones who really need to be treated. I hope that this project will not only reveal the difficulties faced by the queer community in Chinese society, but also draw attention and reflection.

Secret Garden

Unscientific Diagnosis

Conversion Therapy


Who Need Therapy