The first was looking at some close personal friends here in China who were facing a great deal of parental and cultural pressure to get married and have children despite being in committed relationships where that was impossible or not wanting to be in a relationship at all while still wanting to meet those specific demands.
The reason stems from my own family. My father was a gay may born in 1947. He grew up in a small, conservative, religious community in the Midwest United States. He was also gay. At that time, it was not only dangerous to come out as gay, but could have also cost him his family due to their belief systems. He did what many of his generation did and found a woman to marry. They did manage to have a child, and for that reason alone I am grateful. That said, they did not have a healthy marriage and both of my parents suffered due to this cultural pressure. There is no doubt in my mind that they both loved me, but I don’t think I ever saw my father be his authentic self until after my mother passed away. The times had changed since he was a young man, and he was able to live openly as a gay man, something he could have never dreamed about when he was younger. I would think about this a great deal later in life.
Eventually, I had the chance to travel and live in the Middle East as well as Asia. Both areas place a strong emphasis on family obligations and children. I made friends with people who strongly believed in their cultures and religions but were also LBGTQ+. In some of these countries, to come out as LBGQT+ meant prison or potentially death. And because they were in an impossible situation, they often found themselves in a marriage where the other partner had no knowledge of who they were. Not only were they unhappy, their partners, through no fault of their own, found themselves unhappy and dissatisfied with the relationships as well.
My goal isn’t to stigmatize or slow the process of human rights. I do want to give an option to people who might otherwise find themselves in a situation like my father found himself. Simply put, I want to make sure that people have safe and viable options that meet their needs for cultural/family obligations as well as their safety.
Throughout this process of creating the website I have struggled with how the LBQTQ+ community will view it. I strongly support human rights for all people. Period. I hope that one day there will be absolutely no need for a website like mine. In the meantime, while cultural norms and safety need to be addressed, I hope to provide a safe and private way for people to meet their needs.