Mainland China is about to come out as Shanghai puts on its first Gay Pride.

The celebration begins Sunday and will culminate with the big party on Saturday, June 13.

While Hong Kong festooned itself with rainbow pride last year, Shanghai Pride is the first large-scale gay event to be held on the Chinese mainland.

“Shanghai is undoubtedly China's most liberal and progressive city and it is the logical choice to host Mainland China's first gay pride festival,” co-organizer Hannah Miller, an openly lesbian American living in China since 2001, said in a press release. “It speaks volumes for China's advancement that such an event can now be organized – it shows that China is becoming a modern, tolerant and forward-thinking nation.”

But don't expect to see revelers in the streets enjoying drag queens lip syncing from on top of brightly colored floats surrounded by bikini-clad dancers or demonstrators calling for greater access to rights in Shanghai. Instead, organizers are planning a series of cultural events to take place at privately-owned venues.

“The advantage of that is it doesn't draw so much attention, or make it sound like we are trying to get people involved in gay rights or in any sort of protest,” Miller told the BBC.

“Basically we were told that if we framed it as a party for foreigners, as entertainment, then we would have more chance of success.”

The entertainment consists of daily art exhibits, film screenings, food events and panel discussions throughout the week.

But not everyone agrees with a Gay Pride that promotes partying over activism.

“Gay weddings? Is this a joke like the 'hot body competition?,'” asked one commenter at the Shanghai Pride website. “Where is the protest? The marching for visibility?”

“One step at a time!” responds the moderator.

While being gay or lesbian is not illegal in China, gay culture remains underground in this conservative society. Young people – gay and straight – feel enormous pressure to procreate due to China's 1 child per couple rule.