Fri, Apr 26, 2013 - Page 9 News List

Society pushing China’s gays into marriages of convenience

By Tania Branigan  /  The Guardian, BEIJING

Thanks to such pressures, as many as 12 million gay men are married to straight women, estimates Xing Fei, of the Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences.

Wang said he never considered that option.

“I know if a woman loved me, I couldn’t give her the love she would expect. For a woman, that’s tragic,” he said.

Xing said others wanted to avoid a straight partner’s sexual demands.

However, marriages of convenience bring their own difficulties.

“Some of these marriages are good — they can help and support each other — but most don’t last long,” Zhang said.

Couples may agree in advance to an early divorce. Others find cohabiting and sharing family duties harder than expected. Splitting up can bring disputes over children and property.

In Wang’s case, their property is registered in their own names. They have also covered every detail they could think of — he will pay all travel costs for visiting his parents, for example. They will have separate rooms, but share a bed when his family comes to stay. They will not give a key to her parents, who live nearby, lest they pop in unexpectedly.

“I’m really lucky to find her, and she’s a generous person,” Wang said of his wife.

His boyfriend reluctantly accepted the situation.

“But there will be more problems. With love you can put up with a lot. Without love, it’s harder,” Wang said.

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