Focus topics

Fake marriages in the LGBT community

There are some special types of dating websites and apps in China. They match lesbians with gays intending to enter a heterosexual marriage.

At least five companies are currently in this business. They are probably not as profitable as Tinder or Parship, but the oldest one has been operating for more than a decade, which means there is a real market. One of the apps is said to have achieved more than 250,000 downloads. 

People who have found their match there will date. When both sides feel it is the right person, they will marry. A big wedding ceremony will be held. Some of them may even have children. 

Despite being an officially registered marriage, it is of course, fake.

It is a show staged for their parents, colleagues at work and social acquaintances, to whom the newlyweds are “normal”, straight people. In private, they will keep or continue to have same-sex relationships or encounters. 

The cause of this bizarre phenomenon is the persistent intolerance against homosexuality and the rigid social norm for normal adult life in China.

Pressure comes mainly from parents. For average Chinese parents, family and children are must-haves for everybody. A constantly single child is a disgrace to the family. The ultimate argument is: “Who will take care of you when you are old?” 

In megacities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, some gay women and men can manage to stay away from this mess. But in smaller cities and the countryside, it is almost impossible. 

Many gays and lesbians marry heterosexuals without telling them the truth. Women who are victimized in this way are particularly vulnerable because it is much more difficult for a divorced woman to remarry in a still quite sexist society.

Thanks to the apps, homosexual men and women who do not want to cheat in a marriage with a heterosexual partner can find each other. In the best-case scenario, everyone involved gets along so well that living together for real also works out. A gay friend of mine who lives in such a marriage can even mediate between his wife and her friend when there is friction between the two women. There are reportedly very happy cases where a gay couple marries a lesbian couple, and they all get along great.

Still, it will not be easy to maintain a make-believe nuptial life. There will be an intimidating amount of work, a theater piece that the couple has to play as long as the marriage lasts. The couple will become work partners in scheming screenplays and acting. 

False marriage with a real desire to have children

Many such couples already have plans for children when launching their marriage project. “Now that we decide to marry, why not have a baby? We both would like to be father and mother, and to have the next generation,” they would say. (For the very curious readers: they will almost all resort to a syringe in doing the job). 

Even if they do not wish to have children, their parents will pressure them into it. 

The children will, of course, be an unfortunate product of a big lie. The potential psychological effects on the children are not taken into account. 

Indeed, many Chinese LGBT people have privately accepted their sexual orientation, but they are still stuck in a conservative mentality. This is particularly true among gay men.  

Within the gay community, the rigid binary distribution of the roles of top and bottom remains common, with the tops often feeling super masculine and the bottoms suffering bottom shaming or slut-shaming.  In homemade gay porn, you can often hear the passive part call the active one hubby or daddy.  

In relationships, many gay men in their same-sex partnerships would also follow the role model of straight couples, with one of them taking the role of the husband and the other the wife. I have heard quite a few times the following statement by a gay couple: “We live exactly the life of a normal man-woman family, except we are both men.” 

Many rich gay couples and singles not involved in a sham or cheating marriages would also like to get their own children. Adoption is extremely rare. Biological offspring through paid surrogate mothers are preferred. 

The general social environment today for the LGBT group is much less harsh than 30 years ago in China. Homosexuality is no longer listed as a crime or disease. With small or big comprises, members of this group can have some form of LGBT life.   

China saw the most vibrant LGBT scene between 2000 and 2015 in big cities. There are also several NGOs actively helping the LGBT community. However, the government later started to suppress all discussions and organizations related to rights, including labor rights, women’s rights and LGBT rights.  

So the LGBT people remain marginalized. The government treats them as nonexistent. Representation in films and television is forbidden. LGBT-related topics are nowhere to be found in textbooks for children in elementary and secondary schools.  

Same-sex marriage? No hope for that as long as the communists are in power.


    Jiang’s legacy looks much better in comparison
    Standing up to the iron fist of the party
    Dwindling attractiveness accelerates decoupling
    Collector of hidden treasures