Mainland China's first large-scale Gay Pride celebration, Shanghai Pride, had a shaky debut last year, but this year organizers promise a bigger and longer festival.

Several of last year's events were canceled at the prompting of officials.

A screening of the lesbian-themed film Lost in You and a staging of The Laramie Project were forced to close. The play reconstructs the gruesome 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, the University of Wyoming student beaten, shackled to a post and left to die in a field by two men he had met in a gay bar.

Other events – art exhibits, food events and panel discussions – went off without a hitch.

This year's celebration has been moved from June to October and will take place over 3 weeks. The festival gets started on October 16 with its official party. Added this year is a queer film festival that will take place over 5 days.

Twenty-eight-year-old Shanghai Pride spokesman Kenneth Tan told Time Out Shanghai that the Internet has fostered the burgeoning gay community in conservative China.

“Pride took so long to get here because everyone was still in the closet, but the Internet has changed all of that,” he said. “A certain 'ecosystem' has to develop before the elements are in place for Pride to happen. This process took a while here in China.”