My Story

Growing up in conservative West Michigan, I watched lesbian and gay friends and family members struggle to be accepted and be treated equally. There are gains and losses in this fight every day, and it is vital for LGBT individuals and their straight allies to stand up and to pay attention.

13 February 2011

The Chinese Homosexual Conundrum

Ever heard of a fake marriage market? Me either. It's a Chinese phenomenon. Gays and lesbians come to one place in order to find someone--of the opposite gender--to get married to. An expert in this article from Slate contends that 80% of China's homosexual population marries heterosexually. In China's family-centric culture, marrying and producing an heir is of utmost importance.

Here's a quote concerning the secrecy of the marriage market:

Precautions are necessary for an event like this. Though there are an estimated 30 million to 40 million gay people in China—there has been no official count—even simple actions such as trying to access Wikipedia's "LGBT" page often result in a "This webpage is not available" message. Chinese society has adopted a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. A 2007 survey by Li Yinhe found that 70 percent of Chinese people think homosexuality is either "a little" or "completely" wrong, and only 7.5 percent of respondents said they knew a gay person.

There is a growing problem with "homowives," a woman who is married to a gay man. It is estimated that there 16 to 25 million women are in this predicament. Because of the social stigma surrounding homosexuality, the issue is not discussed and the problems are not addressed. 

However, many LGBT Chinese individuals hope for change, albeit the slow kind, as indicated by this article. This is another example where talking about things, bringing LGBT issues out into the open, can really make a difference, especially in the long term. 

[Chinese men, mostly married, dance in Shanghai]

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