Wives of gay men in China speak out about ‘tragic lives’

An online community called ‘Tong Qi’ is giving voice to the wives of gay men

Wives of gay men in China speak out about ‘tragic lives’
24 February 2012

Unhappy marriages between gays and women have led to questions about the martial laws in mainland China.

In the online community called Tong Qi, as the wife of any gay man is called in Mandarin, an article seeking help has gone viral, reported Guangzhou Daily .

The woman, who called herself ‘Sad and painful life’ in Chinese, described how her husband left the country with their son last December, claiming to keep the latter’s overseas residency. But in spite of a promise to return home during the Chinese New Year, they have stayed overseas all along.

The woman had been prepared to divorce her husband but was advised by her lawyer that she may not be able to get right to custody of their child due to her financial status.

According to leading scholar Professor Zhang Beichuan, almost 16 million Chinese women are married to gay men, who face strong traditional, family or social pressure.

Charity organizations and former Tong Qi noted it is extremely hard for the court to dissolve a marriage on the ground of the husband’s same-sex behaviour.

The law in mainland China does not let anybody have an at-fault divorce based on their spouse’s ‘sexuality’. It is also hard to prove that closeted, married gays are in any intimate relationship with others, or that their wives suffer from unbearable aloofness.

Zhang and Li Yinhe, a renowned sociologist, both attributed the root cause of Tong Qi’s suffering to social customs and pressure on gay men.

But Zhang criticized gay men for hurting Tong Qi, who form an even more disadvantaged group, and strongly advised the latter against putting up with their marriages just for the sake of their kids, families, or reputation.

‘If China legalized same-sex marriage or embraced [gays] more, there wouldn’t be over 10million of Tong Qi like me, or 10million tragic families,’ a Tong Qi wrote on an online forum.

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