S2 Ep 3: China’s Tongqi: Women Married to Gay Men

Guests: Barclay Bram, Journalist & Fan Popo, Filmmaker

It is estimated that there are between 10 and 19 million, that’s right, million, women in China who are unknowingly married to closeted gay men, setting up a pending crisis for these women and their spouses. The cultural pressures that keep China’s LGBT people hidden are very different than the pressures the LGBT community faces in Western cultures. With no specific religious prohibition on homosexuality, China’s LGBT face pressure to enter heteronormative marriages for entirely different reasons, namely a social security system that relies on children taking care of their parents. If LGBT people don’t get married and have kids, the entire family’s future financial security is in jeopardy. Join us for an exploration of the unique social forces that have created this massive phenomenon, and what is being done to raise awareness of straight spouses and their LGBT partners in China.

Journalist Barclay Bram outlines the issue: “I think what you’re seeing in America, now that gay marriage is being legalized and there’s much more tolerance of the community than there ever has been, you now see this wave of people coming out as gay, even if they’re married and so you’re starting to see the extent to which the straight spouse problem has existed. But the situation in China and India and Africa and across the Middle East is that today, at any age, people feel the need to still get into heteronormative marriages, and that’s a huge problem.”

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