[6/9] CHINESE GODS AND GODDESSES | TU ER SHEN
Tu Er Shen [兔兒神] is a Chinese deity who manages the love and sex between homosexual men. A slang term for homosexuals in late imperial China was tuzi (rabbits) which is why Hu Tianbao is referred to as the rabbit deity.
Tu Er Shen was a man called Hu Tianbao. Hu Tianbao fell in love with a very handsome imperial inspector of the Fujian Province. One day, Hu Tianbao was caught peeping on the inspector through a bathroom wall, at which point he confessed his reluctant affections for the other man. The imperial inspector had Hu Tianbao sentenced to death by beating.
One month after Hu Tianbao’s death, he is said to have appeared to a man from his hometown in a dream, claiming that since his crime was one of love, the underworld officials decided to right the injustice by appointing him the god and safeguarder of homosexual affections.