100 Women 2016: My sham marriage

100 Women 2016: My sham marriage

In China, the pressure for young women to get married is huge. So what do you do if you are a gay woman? Ou Xiaobai, a 32-year-old living in Beijing, describes how a marriage of convenience helps her please her family and preserve her freedom.

I want to protect and be with my girlfriend for my entire life. And that’s why I married a man in 2012.

At that time I was living a happy life with my girlfriend in Beijing. But I was under constant pressure from my family – who lived in Dalian – to get married.

Ironically my situation would have been easier a decade ago. Then there was less awareness of homosexuality and therefore less suspicion.

My parents kept asking me if I was seeing anyone. And the situation got worse after my father passed away, because my mother – concerned that I didn’t seem to have settled down with anyone – started coming to live with me for a few months every year.

Realising there was no way that I could avoid the issue, I went to my friends for help – and that’s how I got to know about “marriages of convenience”. Read more



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