Wives of gay Chinese men want annulment, not divorce

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 11, 2013 11:00 hrs

Beijing, Jan 11 (IANS) China has seen a rise in the number of women married to gay men asking for an annulment rather than a divorce in a bid to avoid social stigma.

The Beijing First Intermediate Court said in the report that in such marriages, women would often accuse their husbands of infidelity to have their marriage annulled, the Global Times reported.

The report, however, did not reveal any figures relating to the trend.

The women believed that if the marriage was annulled, then their status would revert to "single" rather than divorced because it can better protect their rights.

Some wives said they did not have sex with their husbands and remained a virgin, the court said.

Hu Zhijun, executive director of an organisation for gay people, said: "Behind the appeal to annul the marriage is discrimination against divorced people. If you are labelled as divorced, especially for women, you will suffer from societal pressure."

But, he said it was inappropriate for a homosexual to intentionally conceal his gay status.

"The gay man should take more responsibility and offer more to his spouse when the property is divided," Hu said.

Xu Bin, director of a Beijing-based organisation for lesbians, said women filing for an annulment will reinforce negative stereotypes against divorced women.

"The women's appeal (to annul) shows that they think that divorced women are less valuable and are second-hand," she said.

Xu said people get married for money, property or a Beijing household registration. "It's hard to know why these women get married to a gay man."

According to China's marital laws, one partner in a marriage being gay is not necessarily enough to file for divorce, unless there is a complete breakdown in the relationship.

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