Shanghaiist: Li Yinhe on ‘Homowives’
I attended a forum that discussed the problem of ‘homowives‘. The so-called ’homowife‘ (tongqi 同妻) is the wife (qi 妻) of a homosexual (tongzhi 同志). It has been said that China has 20 million male homosexuals, of whom 80 per cent would marry a woman. These women are the ’homowives‘, and there are 16 million of them.
The ‘homowife’ phenomenon is a phenomenon unique to China, seldom witnessed in other countries. In other countries, homosexuals would remain single or live together or marry other homosexuals. Very few would enter into a heterosexual marriage. This difference comes about because Chinese culture places such a great emphasis on marriage and reproduction, as to make them compulsory.
[…]The condition for ‘homowives’ is extremely tragic. At the seminar, there were ‘homowives’ who burst into tears as they spoke, leading all of them to hug each other for a good cry. Most days, they wash their faces with tears. I heard what I considered the most shocking testimony that from a woman who told of how she even doubted her ability to attract men — why wouldn’t her husband even want to look at her or touch her? Am I really that unworthy as a woman? She assumed that all men would treat her like that, not knowing that this is far from the truth. She did not dream that her husband would be gay. Under the circumstances, even the most beautiful and accomplished woman would not arouse him.