Guest Post: My Same-Sex Marriage To A Chinese Man
I am so happy to feature this guest post about same-sex marriage between an American and Chinese national. Previously, I wrote about the LGBT scene in China because I think it is of great importance in Today’s China. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did!
“Its amazing how your expectations of your life change when someone totally new walks into it. You find yourself with a new purpose, a different dream, and even one that is opposite of the original. Sometimes it can be a teacher, a best friend, or a lover. Mine was the latter, and his name was Xiao Wei (小威).
Online Dating to Find Chinese Mr. Charming
When I met my future prince charming, I just came out of a very bad relationship and was about to be transferred from my job in Beijing to Guangzhou. I was feeling like the world around me was falling in, and I had the sudden urge ( I was reading the Secret at the time) to write down what I thought was the ideal partner fro me. I wrote down that I wanted someone kind, with whom I could exchange languages with, and someone who would love me with all his heart. A couple of days later, I got a message on a gay dating site from this cute boy from Hainan, who after a month of talking, decided to visit me when I came to Guangzhou.
Xiao Wei was there for me every step of the way, and over the course of the next three years we spent almost every moment we had free together. We traveled to many places including Cambodia and Hong Kong, and everyday I found myself falling deeper into love with this amazing person.
Marrying My Soul Mate
Before I met my partner, the thought of marrying never crossed my radar, but I guess there comes a point in every relationship when you must decide if you need something more than the status quo. Coincidentally, my time came when the US Supreme Court was deciding whether or not to strike down a federal mandate that blocked the federal government from recognizing same sex marriages. Luckily, the court decided in favor of equality. That night should have been the happiest moment of my life, but in the end it turned out very bittersweet, as some members of my family showed a very lukewarm interest in my engagement. (Xiao Wei’s mom on the other hand was very supportive and even gave her son a lot of money towards the upcoming marriage.)
Despite everything, Xiao Wei and I pushed on. We decided to not go to the United States because of the length and cost of the visa process in America, and with the suggestion of a friend, planted our finger on South Africa, which has a relatively easy process for same-sex couples who wish to tie the knot.
Over the course of the next year, we busily prepared our wedding, and enlisted the help of two of our good friends a Brit by the name of Garry, and our Chinese friend Billy. Finding a minister on the internet was very easy, and he turned out to be very reputable, knowledgeable, and willing to walk us through the process step by step.
Wedding in South Africa
The flight to our Romantic paradise was about 15 hours, but it went by very fast, and as we,landed in Cape Town, we were greeted by a rainbow. If that wasn’t a sign from God, I don’t know what is.
Cape town was a little cold, as it was winter, but it turned out to be the most unforgettable experience of my life. The people were impeccably friendly, and the city was filled with amazing attractions. I would have to say my best experiences were going on a wine tasting tour and then going on the top of Table Mountain which stands in the middle of the city and planked on all sides by the city. Outside of the city was dotted by quaint romantic towns with a European feel to them. We chose one called Simon’s Town for our wedding. You should have seen our bed and breakfast. it was the most beautiful place I had ever stayed at with great staff and a view that overlooked the ocean.
On the 6th of June we finalized our vows in the eyes of God and witnessed by our best friends. That morning, I was very nervous, and it almost felt surreal. We met our minister and he took us to surprise location to tie the knot. We got into his small car and he took us to the top of a mountain where he married us with the full view of the beautiful bay in the background. In Chinese, they have a saying, 海誓山盟, literally “oath delivered on a mountain and the ocean”,which means to swear an oath of undying love. I felt like this literally and figuratively describes the setting of our wedding perfectly.
At the end of the day, I was finally a married man, and the following week, we collected our official wedding certificate and had the rest of our lives to look forward to. I am not sure what our next step will be, but I do know that whatever happens, I will have this amazing man beside me wherever we go.”
Prent is an American who is currently based in Guangzhou with his partner Xiao Wei. He teaches English and also runs a small blog about his life in China. wwww.xiaoxionginchina.tumblr.com. If you are interested in getting more information about marrying in South Africa, please feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.