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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Millions of wives wed to gay men: expert

By Shan Juan (China Daily)

09:20, February 03, 2012

BEIJING - There may be as many as 16 million women on the Chinese mainland who are married to homosexual men, a leading expert has estimated.

Professor Zhang Bei-chuan at Qingdao University, an authority on AIDS and HIV, says that due to traditional family values in China, about 90 percent of homosexual men get married because of pressure to conform.

"But their wives are struggling to cope and their plight should be recognized," he said on Thursday.

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.

Xiao now runs a website called "Homeland of gays' wives", which has 1,200 registered users and provides support and advice.

"The website makes them feel they're not alone and empowers them to make the right choices," she said.

Zhang said that getting their voice heard was the first step to raising public awareness.

However, some within the gay community think otherwise.

Xiao Dong, a 36-year-old gay man, who heads a civil organization in HIV/AIDS prevention and control, said: "Zhang's estimation is unsubstantiated and I even feel it's pointless to research the issue."

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