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Chinese homosexual's marriage struggles under social pressure (3)

By Tian Ying, Zhang Hui (Xinhua)

08:17, April 01, 2013

Yang's boyfriend moved in with him in the restaurant (retrofitted from a four-bedroomed residential apartment), but his wife still continued to visit him every weekend. "I think that was when she discovered my problem," he speculates, although Yang told his wife the man was just helping out in the restaurant.

Yang recalls that his boyfriend once slipped into his bed, snuggling with him after his wife got up, but she only jokingly remarked 'look how happy you are when he is under your blanket.'

But they never openly talked about Yang's being gay. Like his parents, many Chinese do not accept the idea of homosexuality, taking it as a correctable morbidity.

In 2007, Yang was diagnosed HIV-positive but his wife fortunately not. Yang still kept her in the dark, getting a blood sample from her on the pretext that it was needed for a hepatitis test. After the discovery of his condition, however, Yang began trying to persuade his wife that they should divorce.

Due to social stigma, many people with HIV in China even withhold their HIV status from close relatives. Some localities have endeavored to make it legally binding for HIV-positive people to inform their spouses, moves which have sparked fierce opposition from the HIV community.

"I have brought up divorce many times and encouraged her to date other men because I want her to start a new life, but she refused each time," Yang sighs. She has always believed that the fundamental problem between them is that Yang is not mature enough (she is two years older her husband) and things will improve when he gets ages.

Lack of public discussions about homosexuality keeps a lot of women, especially less educated ones, unaware of the landmine they may tread upon, and even if they realize someday, many will not let go, clinging onto gay husbands in the hope of turning them straight.

"We may look an admirable couple, doing the very best to care for each other and living a well-off life, but it hurts to think how she has turned from a happy and extrovert girl when we first met into a sad woman whose face is full of melancholy."

In her book "The Subculture of Homosexuality," renowned sexologist Li Yinhe estimated that there are 36 to 48 million homosexuals in China.

A large percentage of them surrender to pressures coming from their families and society by entering into heterosexual marriages.

According to HIV/AIDS and homosexuality expert Zhang Beichuan's citing of his own research in 2012, 80 percent of gay men in China have married or will marry a woman.

However, changes are under way, with China developing more tolerance of homosexuals, particularly among young people and in big cities.

Li Hu, head of Haihe Star, a Tianjin-based HIV/AIDS non-governmental organization, says, "I find fewer and fewer friends and people we work with are married gays."

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:WangLili、Chen Lidan)

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