Latest News:  

English>>China Society

'Gay' wives are anything but gay

By Yao Minji (Shanghai Daily)

08:33, June 18, 2013

Shanghaipride week is underway and one of the thorny issues discussed is the problematic marriage of gay men to straight women. Yao Minji reports.

Kathy, a 28-year-old small business owner, has been struggling for the past four months about whether to divorce her husband, who admitted he was gay after being confronted by Kathy and her mother. The couple has a 28-month-old son.

"I never met any gay man in my life, and I never suspected such a thing," Shanghai-native Kathy (not her real name) tells Shanghai Daily in an interview. "At first it felt like the end of the world."

Her spouse, a successful businessman who also talked to Shanghai Daily, is not unkind, just indifferent; he is a patient father. But they never had sex after their child was born. While she never thought to complain, he had a boyfriend who was openly gay among friends. Kathy and her mother suspected a mistress and did some snooping. The truth was a bombshell.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual community in China is slowly coming out of the closet and the shadows, with more support groups and online communities, larger gay pride parades, more homosexual weddings (not legally recognized in China) and franker discussions of many issues.

The ongoing ShanghaiPRIDE (, which runs through Saturday, is a celebration of all about being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual. It includes drama, exhibition, a film festival (running through Thursday) featuring homosexuality-related short and feature-length movies and ends with a BBQ party.

Many gay men still choose to marry, however, since they face enormous family and social pressure in China to wed, have a baby and carry on the family bloodline. Prominent sexologist Zhang Beichuan in Qingdao, Shandong Province, estimates that at least 10 million women in China are married to gay men. He says more than 80 percent of homosexual men are married or will eventually marry.

Gay men are called nan tong xiang lian and their wives are tong qi, or gay man's wife.

"I feel sorry and embarrassed, but I didn't really have a choice about getting married," Kathy's husband tells Shanghai Daily.

As single child, like many of his peers under the one-child policy, he is expected to wed and sire a child. Kathy's husband, now in his early 30s, once told his parents that he didn't ever intend to marry - and he was severely criticized and threatened with loss of inheritance.

【1】 【2】 【3】 【4】

We Recommend:

Where's the bottom line of eye catching shows?

2,000 cheongsam fans put on a show in Shanghai

Dramatic dream in little theater

China's weekly story (2013.5.24-5.31)

Bodyguard trainees experience 'Hell Week'

47 dead, 34 injured in SE China bus fire

Photos story: Mask girl's hard life

70-year-old son's love for 96-year-old mother

Massive fire kills scores at poultry plant in NE China

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:WangLili、Gao Yinan)

Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. People welcome Chinese destroyer

  2. Soldiers in joint military training

  3. Protesters stage anti-gov't rally in Bangkok

  4. Double life: Editor with a rock heart

  5. Photos: The ordinary love

  6. Triplet red pandas' life in Fuzhou

  7. China wins mixed doubles title

  8. Amazing scenery of Yamzhog Yumco Lake

  9. Daring new collections hit fashion shops

  10. Calling for new type of industry

Most Popular


  1. Keeping a watchful eye on Japan’s 'new cold war'
  2. In praise of graffiti and holiday photos
  3. The thinking behind U.S. surveillance programs
  4. China's space program less costly
  5. SCO chief lauds Harbin fair's co-op contribution
  6. Calling for new type of industry
  7. China is the largest buyer of high-end cameras
  8. Bright future for white spirits
  9. Guangming Daily: Never abandon the mass line
  10. What has historical materialism told us?

What’s happening in China

The Bund turns into beach as the temperature reaches high

  1. Majority of top students not prominent in careers
  2. HIV/AIDS spreading to younger people in Taiwan
  3. Food safety official in pesticides warning
  4. Cops crack down on fake medicine at adult stores
  5. SCO states conclude disaster relief drill