The San Jose Mercury News tells us of the intense pressures put on young gay Chinese

Like many gay men in China, 22-year-old Chen Lei enjoys the newfound liberties of urban life. But he says he cannot fight his destiny: to marry a woman for whom he feels no attraction.For economic, social and cultural reasons, the pressure on gays in China to wed and raise families is high.

In Chen’s case, his family hails from a village in Inner Mongolia, and he dares not tell them of his private life in the big city, knowing they would not understand.

Some might be tempted to think that these Chinese men are making the decision to marry because the values that they hold most important include marriage and a family rather than a life consistent with their orientation. However, I would caution from making such an assumption.

This has led to a spate of loveless — and often short — marriages designed to placate the family and procure progeny.”Many gays hurry to marry, then hurry to divorce,” said Xiao Dong, the head of a volunteer civic group in Beijing’s Chaoyang district that battles AIDS.

In our conversations about living consistently with one’s values, we must consider whether faith values have been placed on young people from external cultural or familial forces that with maturity and time will become less persuasive. Western counselors that may encourage efforts of same-sex attracted persons to pursue heterosexuality or marriage because these are values expressed by the client need to keep in mind that the consequences of such direction in the long term may leave both the patient and many others in pain.

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