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|Anwei (left) and Yebin stand in the cornfields in front of their house after a day's harvesting. Photo: Feng Zhonghao When Apple CEO Tim Cook came out of the closet Camiseta Emiliano Rigoni Mundial 2018 , gay people around the world voiced their support for him. In China, where most gay people stay silent because of the pressure to have children and a lack of understanding, Anwei and Yebin, a gay couple living in rural North China, have defied the biases of fellow villagers. After the futile efforts of exorcists to convert one of them to heterosexuality, they communicated with their parents to help them understand their love and have even signed a contract to give themselves a degree of financial security.
Yebin still remembers the day he found two strangers in his home. They were people in their 40s dressed in robes, and bizarrely Camiseta Agustin Marchesin Mundial 2018 , they were dancing around to the rhythm of drums and bells.
The 33-year-old farmer, who lives in a village near Shijiazhuang, North China's Hebei Province, had come out of the closet to his parents in 2004. Immediately, he was considered "ill," and family members tried to "help" him using all means available, including hiring exorcists to cure him. Even drinking water mixed with burning pieces of paper "spells" wasn't enough to get them to stop.
The situation changed gradually Camiseta Alejandro Gomez Mundial 2018 , over a long, 10-year struggle. Now, Yebin lives next door to his parents with his boyfriend, Anwei. When Yebin spoke to the Global Times, he was sitting on a couch in a five-square-meter living room, adjacent to a small supermarket the couple owns, which sells snacks and household items. While Yebin spoke Camiseta Paulo Dybala Mundial 2018 , Anwei looked up at him with a smile and a natural spark in his eyes, which was something unimaginable during those dark days just after he came out to his parents.
After Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, came out of the closet earlier this month, homosexuality has been a hot topic of discussion in China. While many gay people living in China's countryside are reluctant to come out as gay, because of cultural pressure to get married and the gossipy nature of small communities, others have found a way to live happily despite these problems.
'Dance the evils away'
Both Yebin and Anwei had dated women before finding each other.
Anwei had girlfriends for many years Camiseta Giovani Lo Celso Mundial 2018 , even though he felt attracted to men. It was lonely, he said, and when he felt sure about his sexuality he thought that he was the only "abnormal" person in the world.
On the other hand, Yebin was always sure of his orientation, but bent under the pressure his family put on him to wed. In 2004, Yebin married a woman from a neighboring village, a match that was arranged by his parents.
"I knew I had always been gay Camiseta Ever Banega Mundial 2018 , but some gay people I knew had gotten married, so I thought if I gave it a shot I could do it," he said.
But on his honeymoon, Yebin found it impossible to pretend to be heterosexual. He was repelled by his wife's advances and the couple ended up sleeping in separate beds. His wife went back to her home after a few days and told her family all about Yebin's behavior.
Yebin's mother soon found out about the almost immediate breakdown of her son's marriage through the village grapevine and confronted her son. He had no choice but to tell his mother that he was gay.
At first, his parents didn't believe being gay was natural. They took Yebin to the hospital and found the exorcists to "dance the evils away."
Yebin's parents struggled with his sexuality for several years and started researching the subject. The end of this struggle started in 2007 when Yebin's boyfriend was killed in a traffic accident. Yebin, naturally, became depressed.
"During the following two years I hated myself for being gay Camiseta Eduardo Salvio Mundial 2018 ," he said. But it was then that Yebin came to an understanding with his mother. Seeing her son so miserable, she told Yebin that it didn't matter if he liked men or liked women, as long as he was happy.
In 2011, Anwei and Yebin met each other online. After coming to terms with his own sexuality, Anwei started searching for other gay men on the Internet and added Yebin on the QQ social platform. After talking for a month, Yebin visited Anwei in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Soon afterwards Camiseta Nicolas Otamendi Mundial 2018 , Anwei moved to Hebei, without even bothering to hand in his notice at work.
"Maybe it's because I liked him too much," he said.
The first challenge the new couple faced was gaining Yebin's family's approval. Anwei recalls that on the day he first came to Yebin's family home, he didn't have the courage to actually meet his lover's mother. When the family came home in the evening, he hid until Yebin coaxed him to come out and introduce himself.
After trying to gain the acceptance of those around him for almost 10 years, Yebin said that he will not hide his sexuality any more. He has convinced his family to accept him and his partner, and he doesn't care what the other villagers think.
"Not many people come up and shout insults in your face. And why should you care about what people say behind your back?" he said.
There have been a few times that he has heard people gossiping about him Camiseta Diego Perotti Mundial 2018 , he said. Once, he heard two villagers talking about him being gay and he simply went over to them and asked if they'd like to hear the real story. After a couple of incidents like this, people were at least more careful to hide their chatter.
"At first, when we went to the market the salespeople would ask us questions like, 'Are you guys really together?' or 'Who's the man and who's the woman?' But after seeing us a few times, there's nothing more to ask about," Yebin said.
In order to earn Yebin's family's trust Camiseta Javier Mascherano Mundial 2018 , Anwei showed them that he could help them with their day to day business. He volunteered to clean out the family's pig sty and worked ankle-deep in foul-smelling excrement.
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