LGBT: What is a marriage but for ourselves?

Four women are living under the same roof, but each of them has a husband elsewhere who they are not living with.

The documentary film called “Our Marriages”, describing how LGBT minorities suffer from the conventional Chinese concept of marriage, was shown at a screening event held at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre (QSNCC) on Thursday 21.

Two lesbian couples are living together in the same place, and all four of them have so-called contract marriages with gay people who also sought fake partners.

“We need to satisfy our parents by getting married,” said Kele, who has a contract marriage with a gay. “Our wedding was all for show!”

So-called contract marriages are one of the methods some LGBT people in China choose. This officially unknown system enables them to get married to others who are also LGBT. Those who want to do it first find each other in a chat room, and then make a contract of what kind of fake-marriage they want.

The Economist reports that 90% of gay men in China marry heterosexual women, which is quite a lot compared to the number of 15-20% in the US (estimated by Liu Dalin, a pioneering sexologist now retired from the University of Shanghai). It is also estimated that the number of fake-married gays in China may be 25 million people.

Xiaopei He, the director of the film, said that parents’ pressure on their children forces LGBT people to take this unusual step. In family-based Chinese society, not to have a family is thought very dishonest when they seek a stable life, and the parents may also be pressured by people around them who condemn their children’s odd lifestyles.

“The very strong concept in our society, a family-based lifestyle, causes this marriage issue in China,” Ms He said. “But the contract marriages I show in the film don’t solve any problems for LGBT people, because it cannot change the ideas rooted in people’s mind.”

Surprisingly, Ms He also says that same-sex marriage doesn’t really help to improve this situation in China either. Since society has taken it for granted that only a woman and a man can fall in love, whether it’s legalized or not, LGBT people still suffer.

In Thailand, the legalization of same-sex marriages is one of the current hot issues. But Ms He said they should be really careful about making a decision.

“What is more important than a marriage is to make a society in which people respect each other’s relationships regardless of whether they are married or non-married, gay or lesbian.” she said.

“People shouldn’t be restricted in their desires. We need a society where everybody can desire.”

Xiong, one of the lesbians in the film, already has a contract marriage and now lives with her girlfriend. “Even if same-sex marriage was legalized in China, I still will find a gay man to marry,” said Xiong. “People don’t live for themselves but for their families too.”

by Takato Mitsunaga prachatai
Source – Prachatai