BEIJING, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- A large majority of China's approximately 20 million sexually active gay men are married to, or will eventually marry, straight women, experts say.
An estimated 16 million Chinese women are married to gay men.
Women married to gay Chinese men are at greater risk of contracting AIDS and are often subject to frequent and severe domestic violence, one Chinese sexologist says.
Some gays are distressed by being unable to be themselves, so they tend to vent their pent-up frustrations on their wives, sexologist Zhang Beichuan says.
Getting a divorce is difficult in China. Wives often seek compensation for the marriage, but gay husbands do not fall into the category of "wrongdoers" under China's marital law, the country's state-run news agency Xinhua says.
If a gay man remains single, he faces intense pressure in a society where marriage is expected, but gay marriage is banned, marital law expert Wang Hao says.
"We should remember that society has pushed gay men into such marriages before we criticize gay people for marrying straight women," he says.
"Just divorce," Geng Le, chief executive officer of China's largest gay Web site, advises the wives of gay men. "Being gay is not our choice, we cannot change."
Geng Le says he knows many gays, but he's never heard of one who changed sexuality or maintained a happy marriage with a straight woman.
But Shu Yun, 28, the wife of a gay man, disagrees. "The world is complicated. Every wife has her own concerns."
Some wives of gay men have deep affection for their husbands, some are jobless and must depend on their gay husbands, and some worry divorce will hurt their children, she says.