Sham Marriages between Gay & Lesbians in China
In what looks like a traditional wedding in the cities in China, many Chinese gay and lesbians couple are resorting to sham marriages to appease their families and to continue a life in a society where homosexuality is shunned and condemned.
In the last few weeks, the Chinese Government has banned the portrayal of same sex marriages in television, after already banning media that featured gay, lesbian, bi and transgender themes, from the Chinese government controlled internet.
The Independent, a UK based newspaper, sat down with a couple who try to explain their arrangement which mirrors many others in China. In a busy Shanghai mall, Qiang is sits next to his wife, Jing. Also with them is Qiang’s boyfriend Jie. Qiang and Jing were married in 2013, and Jie was their best man. Jie then went and married Jing’s girlfriend later that week, though that arrangement hasn’t worked out for them.
Like many other LGBTQi Chinese, this trio faced increasing pressure and shame from their parents to have a traditional family. In this arrangement, not only do they keep their respective families happy with under this guise, they can continue to see their lovers and partners without retribution from the wider community.
With some Chinese texts still describing homosexuality as a ‘mental disorder’, which clinics claim can be cured with pills and tonics, Qiang said they entered into the marriage because not everyone can understand anothers sexual orientation.
“I couldn’t force my parents to accept that I’m gay,” Qiang said. “Beliefs are different between generations. You can’t change it.”
For many couples who enter into this arrangement, the goal is to have a baby. After two years of marriage, Qiang and Jing are planning this next step for their lives. They plan to inseminate Jing with Qiang’s sperm at home. “We want to do this for ourselves as well as our parents,” says Jing.
Behind the sham marriages, there are glimpses in progress of LGBTQi people in Chinese society. There are apps and websites dedicated for Chinese men and women to meet and interact with other like minded people and government leaders make steps toward equality.
But for now, for couples like Qiang and Jing, the deceit goes on.
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