Historians note that early Chinese immigrants were primarily males. Many were bachelors, or if married, left their wives and children, if any, in China while they worked in other countries to send remittances home to support their families. This situation was reinforced in the U. S. by the 1882 Chinese Exclusion laws that were extended until 1943 and in Canada by the Head Tax in 1885 that did not end until 1923 only to be replaced by a Chinese Exclusion Act that did not end until 1947.
Not much has been studied about the sex lives of these bachelor Chinese men. The general unavailability of Chinese women, aside from prostitutes, greatly reduced their sexual relations with Chinese women, and consequently, a dearth of children. Moreover, racial prejudices against Chinese limited their prospects of forming heterosexual unions, short or long term, with white women. Prejudices of the Chinese themselves led to disapproval of Chinese men who had heterosexual liasons with black women. Clearly, these circumstances affected the sex lives of these bachelors and may have increased their involvement in sexual activities that society disapproved.
For example, some incidents publicized in newspapers suggested that some Chinese laundrymen were pedophiles or suspected of luring children into their shops for immoral purposes. Less attention seems to have been directed toward homosexual partners among Chinese, or for the few Chinese women here, lesbian relations, Yet, given the circumstances the Chinese faced in North America in the 19th and early 20th century, it would have been more surprising if there had not been homosexual or lesbian relationships.
A thoughtful dramatization of how societal conditions could have contributed toward homosexual relationships among Chinese immigrants is am excellent 1996 film by Richard Fung, cleverly titled, Dirty Laundry with commentary by historian Nayan Shah.