Why gay men in China marry lesbians

by Alex Lee

We call it sham marriage or lavender marriage.

In the majority of places in China, homophobia is still prevalent. Coming out as gay could cause a series of problems, especially if one works in the government.

Plus, it’s next to impossible to persuade the older generation that homosexuality should be accepted.

Elder generations usually care a lot about their descendants’ marriage. It is presumed that everyone should marry.

When I told my mother I was not going to marry, the first thing she told me was: “But the society won’t accept you if you don’t get married.”

In my hometown, single women over 25 are called “leftover women”. To sum it all up, marriage is a big deal in China.

Which is why being homosexual in China is very depressing. You cannot openly come out as gay and same-sex marriage is not recognized.

Parents, grandparents and relatives are quite pushy when it comes to marriage. Therefore, one solution gradually became popular — a gay marries a lesbian.

It is called sham or lavender marriage.

While they pretend to be a normal couple in front of people, most of the times they have their own sexual partners.

You may ask, does this solution work?

Well, sometimes.

For example, a guy in my college discovered that his cousin was lesbian. He later married his cousin’s girlfriend and the four people were happily ever after.

But most of the times, sham marriages don’t end up with “happily ever after.”

Once you choose sham marriage, the rest of your life will be based on a huge lie. You’re basically signing a lifelong contract giving away the freedom of being yourself, in exchange for family harmony.

In China, marriage of two people also means integration of two families.

The sham marriage couple has to respond to endless questions like “When do you guys want to start having kids?” and “How do you guys know each other?”

In public, the couple have to try hard to flirt and behave like a loving couple. It sounds okay at first, but it’s super exhausting as time goes by.

I wish I could see the day when same-sex marriage is legalized all over the world and people are free to be themselves.

I really wish.

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