China: Marriages of Convenience Common among Gays
Although China decriminalized homosexuality in 1997, many gay men in China continue to enter into a xingshi marriage, or marriage of convenience, to ease the pressure from family to settle down. After decriminalization in 1997 and in 2001 removing homosexuality from the official list of mental disorders, the stigma against gays persists. The importance of family in Chinese society means that parents are often pressuring their children to get married and carry on the family line.
Zhang Beichuan, a professor at Qingdao University who has studied homosexuality in China since the 1980s, estimates that the country has about 30 million gay men and women between the ages of 15 and 60, and of those between 80 and 90 percent eventually get married. As a result, many gay people are turning to the xingshi marriage. After marrying, they won’t necessarily live with one another, and many maintain their own same-gender partners. But in front of their families they act like real couples.
In rural areas, pressure can be even more intense and in fact some jobs in the military and civil service actually require marriage for promotions.
“Amid family pressures, gays in China turn to marriages of convenience,” Christian Science Monitor, 4/13/10; http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2010/0413/Amid-family-pressu...