16 Million Chinese Women Married To Men… Who Like Men
An estimated 16 million women in China may be married to homosexual men, “silently suffering” the consequences to sustain their wedlock, a leading Chinese expert claimed today.
Prof Zhang Bei-chuan from Qingdao University, who researches on AIDS and HIV, said that about 90% of homosexual men marry because of pressure to follow traditional values prevalent in the country.
“But their wives are struggling to cope and their plight should be recognised,” he was quoted by the state-run China Daily. About 16 million women in China may be married to homosexual men, he claimed.
Xiao Yao, a 29-year-old magazine editor in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, divorced her gay husband in 2008.
“Most gay men’s wives I’ve known are silently suffering at the hands of husbands who could never love them, and like me, some even got abused by husbands who were also under great pressure,” she said.
She runs a website which has 1,200 such women registered as users and says it “makes them feel they’re not alone and empowers them to make the right choices.”
However, the gay community is split on the claim. “Zhang’s estimation is unsubstantiated and I even feel it’s pointless to research the issue,” Xiao Dong, a 36-year-old gay, who heads a civil organisation for HIV/AIDS prevention and control, said.
“To put gays’ wives under the spotlight might cause more public misunderstanding or even hatred toward the gay population, which does not help defuse existing social discrimination against them,” he said, while adding that the question of marriage is complicated for them.
However, Meng Lin, a 50-year-old gay from Beijing, believes that Zhang’s estimation is reasonable.
“I myself almost married a woman many years ago, but finally gave up when I learnt I was HIV positive,” he said.
“Gay men and gays’ wives are both victims of social discrimination and stigma, so we should not simply blame one party,” he added.
Wang Zi (name changed) said that he would never tell his parents the truth and while he does not want a heterosexual marriage, he would consider it so as not to hurt the feelings of his parents.
“I may marry a lesbian and we can keep going with our own lifestyle more honestly,” the 27-year-old said.