I wanted to tell him that, if I could, I would give him my body to use however he saw fit. It meant nothing to me. If only bodies were like gloves you could peel off and lose.
Today tongzhi is seldom used in a political context, if ever: The Beijing LGBT center is called Beijing Comrade Center; 同志村, or comrade village, translates to gayborhood. So yeah, everyone knows what comrade really means—everyone except the president of China, apparently.