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Chinese 'gay wives' suffer emotional abuse

Updated: 2013-10-23 19:52
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - Most Chinese women who unwittingly marry gay men are subject to emotional abuse from their husbands and call for legal protection for their rights, a survey has found.

The newly concluded research, led by renowned Chinese sexologist Zhang Beichuan and starting from last year, surveyed nearly 150 women who have married or divorced gay or bisexual men, or who are in unmarried relationships with such men.

The results, revealed to Xinhua on Tuesday, showed that 70 percent of the respondents have suffered long-term emotional abuse in their relationship, characterized by the men's sexual apathy, and 20 percent of the women have endured repeated beatings.

The survey found 90 percent of the women have developed symptoms of depression, 40 percent have experienced strong suicidal thinking and 10 percent have made suicide attempts.

In addition, 80 percent of the respondents said they were "seriously harmed" by their relationship and 90 percent craved legal protection.

Nearly 40 of the surveyed women reported symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases. And of the 30 who had been tested for HIV, two found themselves to be infected with the virus.

"'Gay wives' often painstakingly conceal their identity to avoid stigma; therefore, it was hard to obtain samples for our survey. As far as I know, this is the first quantitative research on 'gay wives' in the country," Zhang said, adding that similar foreign studies are also scarce.

In China, gay men chose to marry women and have children mainly due to significant pressure from their parents and social traditions, as many Chinese believe continuing a family's bloodline is an inescapable obligation for men.

Previous studies suggested nearly 90 percent of Chinese gay men are already married to or will eventually marry heterosexual women.

Zhang called for gay men to not be confined to traditional marriage values and for their awareness on gender equality to be raised so as to stop hurting innocent women, against the backdrop of increasing tolerance toward homosexuality among the Chinese public.

Homosexuality was removed from the Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders in 2001, after the World Health Organization did so in 1990.