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8 Jun 2010

Gay men and lesbians in China marry heterosexually to cover-up

Lesbians and gay men are tying the knot with a member of the opposite sex to satisfy their parents, reports China Daily.

Some 90 percent of China's homosexuals – estimated to number 39-52 million – are trapped in marriages with straight partners, state-run English language newspaper China Daily quoted prominent sociologist and sexologist Li Yinhe of the China Academy of Social Sciences as saying in a 2006 interview with Guangzhou Daily. She attributed the numbers to a lack of understanding of homosexuality and traditional mores that are forcing more gay men to marry, and even beget children.

The report also cited a 2005 survey of 200 gay men, by the Guangdong Center for Diseases Control and Prevention, that revealed that 30 percent of them were married [to women presumably since same-sex marriages are not legal in China].

A lesbian couple Zhang Nana, a 32-year-old working for a Beijing-based magazine, and Shenlan (not their real names), 29, who was profiled in the report both married gay men to placate all four parties' parents.

They began their search for a gay couple in 2005, setting two conditions for their prospective "husbands": no body contact and no children.

In October 2006, Zhang and her husband, a 31-year-old university lecturer surnamed Wang, threw a wedding banquet for more than 100 relatives and friends; her partner was a bridesmaid at her wedding.

The following year  her partner Shenlan married Wang's boyfriend.

"My life has become an endless round of deceptions. I'm exhausted with all the lying. I have even had to abandon some of my cherished friendships," Shenlan says.

"We thought a gay couple could help all four of us keep our long-term relationship," Zhang says. "But we were wrong." 

Zhang and Wang divorced three years into their marriage. She has not reconciled with her family since she come out to her parents after her divorce.


Reader's Comments

1. 2010-06-08 20:57  
Great article...but not elaborated. Anyone to comment on this?
2. 2010-06-08 21:08  
too short
3. 2010-06-08 21:29  
sounds really expensive, lots of money and property issues to deal with, yikes, the lawyers love this new business
4. 2010-06-08 23:07  
win-win solution
5. 2010-06-09 06:51  
Damnit... even fake couples are more successful in 'love' than I am! Mum - don't buy a new wedding hat Juuuuuuuuuuuuuust yet!
6. 2010-06-09 08:00  
It's a very chinese thing to get married and have children. If my parents force me to marry a woman, i'll run away from home permanently, or i'll do this too if i have no more choices. It's either never to see them again or constantly lying...
7. 2010-06-09 14:24  
I don't think it's really a "lack of understanding of homosexuality" but it definitely does have to do with societal mores. Asian cultures, from my experience at least, does not function in an individualistic manner, but rather focuses on the "group." In this case, that "group" is the family, so in a country like China where there is only one child to represent the family, a lot of pressure is exerted on that single person to be successful, have a family and a child, and, above all, be something of pride to the family, or at least not bring great shame by differing from mores established. To be homosexual there seems like a lose-lose situation really...
8. 2010-06-09 17:29  
Cultural repression and persecution of minorities isn't new. Kudos to those individuals positioned to chip away at such injustices through actions like coming out and other actions.
9. 2010-06-10 13:10  
actually i've heard there are websites set up for lesbians to find gay men to marry. It is a very common situation in the mainland.

I have to say it also doesn't matter if the person has brothers or sisters who are married. i have have several gay friends in China who do have older siblings who are married and they are still pressured to get married and have kids.
10. 2010-06-10 14:18  
So what? This isn't news at all! This is the case all over the world. Here in Malaysia and Singapore I know for a fact that it's quite common. In many cases the wives are even quite aware of the situation.
11. 2010-06-10 18:44  
I'm sorry, but nothing is forced. China will have to eventually come out of the closet. Is satisfying your parents more important than you having a long, fulfilling life? In my opinion, I say no. I have a close (gay) Chinese friend who was planning the whole wedding/deception thing - - dated a girl for awhile, decided it wasn't his cup of tea (pun intended). He plans on finding a long term boyfriend (not me, someone closer to his younger age) and live life how he wants to. He plans on telling his parents soon . . . . ish. He suspects his mother is already aware. I am there for moral support anytime he feels down or scared. But I heartily congratulate him!
12. 2010-06-11 00:03  
Its all about control of other peoples lives.Its about time these older people got on with their own lives and let the younger ones choose how they want to live and be allowed to make their own mistakes.
They will not take no for an answer and have to interfere.One life so live it your way.It may be hard to break the mould but other societies have been through the same struggles
13. 2010-06-11 15:13  
it used to happen in our neck of the woods and though social taboos have shrunk it still happens, especially where there are so many dysfuntional sluts for ever trawling for endless skanky sex and it's hard to find a serious homosexual partner they go grab a girl so they don't feel lonely when old..I seen it happen.. yeah it happens.. and the girls don't complain they are desperate too
14. 2010-09-25 06:27  
Anyone knows where one can find those websites that arrange such connections?

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