In the early 2000s, China’s most famous gay lifestyle, health and dating blog was being run by a police officer.
By day, Ma Baoli patrolled China’s windswept northeastern port city of Qinhuangdao. But by night—under the pseudonym Geng Le—he updated the blog, called Danlan (or Light Blue). The double life was exhausting.
By 2011, Danlan had become so popular that Ma could no longer keep his identity a secret, which the softly spoken 43-year-old now calls “a blessing in disguise.” Forced by his bosses to choose between his work and his passion project, Ma abandoned an almost two-decade career in law enforcement and founded the tech company BlueCity. Its flagship dating app, Blued, today has 63 million registered users worldwide.