A couple stories out of China today. First off, many gay men and lesbians in China apparently are getting married to each to satisfy friends and family and to live the lives they want. The Daily Beast reports:
In a country where the pressure to get married is strong and starts early, it has long been common for gays to marry straight spouses. Now, some are finding what they consider a better alternative. Known as “cooperative marriages,” or hunzuo hunyin, gay men and lesbian women are increasingly marrying each other–often aided by the Internet. (Such marriages are also known as “fake marriage” [jia jiehun] or “ritual marriage” [xingshi hunyin].) Xiaojiong, in fact, was one of the first to create an online forum for gay men and lesbian women to find such marriage partners. At the time, her motivation was to find herself a husband. “I was already 25 and my parents were pressuring me, non-stop, to get married,” she says of why she began her venture in 2007. “I couldn’t find a website for cooperative marriages so I started my own.” Those who join her forum need to answer the following questions to set up their profiles: “Do you want to live with your spouse or live apart? Do you want to have children or not? Do you want to get a marriage certificate or just have the ceremony? Do you want to get divorced?” “When gay men and lesbian women marry each other, they can agree on the terms of marriage so they could keep living how they want to,” Xiaojiong says. “It’s not fair for straight people to get stuck in marriages with miserable gay people.”
But some are not content to enter into a “co-operative marriage”. When Iceland’s openly lesbian, married Prime Minister visited China, a lesbian couple in wedding dresses got married to greet her and her wife, and to raise awareness of marriage equality. Gay Star News reports:
A lesbian couple has held a ‘wedding’ in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou to welcome Iceland’s Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir and her wife. The couple identified as Xiaoyang and Xiaoxiao went to Guangzhou’s High Street Wednesday morning (17 April) in white wedding gowns holding hands and kissing, Yang Cheng Evening News reports. As Sigurdardottir and her partner of 13 years Jonina Leosdottir visited Beijing from 15 to 18 April, Xiaoyang said she was holding a wedding to greet the couple and also made people more respectful of untraditional marriages and loves.
Kudos to the brave couple for fighting for their rights in a country that still turns a blind-eye toward its gay and lesbian citizens.