Despite being decriminalized in 1997, homosexuality is still heavily stigmatized in China. It was even considered a mental illness there until 2001, when it was finally dropped from a list of mental illnesses. Even with some of the strides made to get society to accept homosexuality, it is still difficult for many people to find acceptance. This is especially true in China’s smaller cities and rural areas. Because of this, many gay people move to bigger cities, such as Beijing, where they can live freer lives.

Photographer Teo Butturini traveled to Beijing to meet some of these people and tell their stories. With the help of the Beijing LGBT Center, Butturini found people and asked them to take him to a place that was important for each of them living as LGBT in the city. Here are some of those portraits and stories.