The pressure on the women in China to get married is huge. You can fall in love and marry the man of your dreams and create a happily ever after. But what if the person you are in love with is not a man? The issue of homosexuality is not something parents seem ready to deal with yet. In fact, homosexuality has been classified as a mental disorder by the Chinese Society of Psychiatry.
Ou Xiaobai, now a 32-year-old woman, wanted to marry her girlfriend. But coming out to her parents was not an option. When she went to her friends for advice, she was introduced to the concept of marriage of convenience. Today she lives with her girlfriend whom she dotes on, whereas her husband lives with his boyfriend and all four of them are great friends. Trying to help other friends going through the same, Ou and her girlfriend began a social media service called iHomo, which works on the concept of xinghun, or cooperative marriages.
The service is pretty convenient to a certain extent. When a closet gay person is pestered to marry someone from the opposite sex, the service helps them find a partner of convenience, tricking the family into believing that the person is married. Once that happens, each person goes back to living their own lives with their significant others.
She told BBC,
We set up a service on social media called iHomo. Over the course of a year, we organised more than 80 events, helping to form 100 marriages of convenience. And now we are working on an iHomo app.
There are around 100,000 gay men and women in China today. iHomo has come as an answer to those looking for opposite-sex marriage partners. This however, does not solve the issue of the question of kids, something which a married couple is constantly pestered for. iHomo is helping many stay with the ones they love, but we sure hope the fear of being turned out by their families stops bothering them soon.