A dialogue on Chinese Male Homosexualities
Denise Tse-Shang TANG
Travis S. K. Kong’s book on Chinese Male Homosexualities: Memba, Tongzhi and Golden Boy (2011) presents a comprehensive ethnographic study into the lives of Chinese gay men in relation to processes of globalization and citizenship within three sites, namely Hong Kong, London and China (Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong). Chinese gay men and male homosexualities as a worthy subject of academic inquiry have been carefully examined in the last decade. New queer Asia studies calls for a decentering of sexual subjects from Western connotations of global gayness to a critical analysis of local expressions of sexualities, and from queer Asian diasporic societies to local communities. Drawing from a rich array of theories across disciplines, Chinese Male Homosexualities proposes a transnational framework of analysis to bring together border-crossings, travelling bodies, transforming identities, indigenous voices and sexual transgressions in the everyday lives of Chinese gay men.
In this short review, I will first lay out the structure of the book and then introduce specific theoretical strands from three texts that might lend further insight into understanding Kong’s research on Chinese gay men. These texts include Chen Kuan-Hsing’s Asia as Method (2010), Heather Love’s Feeling Backward (2009) and Yau Ching’s As Normal as Possible (2010). A detailed summary of Chinese Male Homosexualities should first be provided before such a dialogue unfolds.
Denise Tse-Shang Tang is assistant professor in Sociology at the University of Hong Kong. Prior to returning to Hong Kong, Tang taught at the Graduate Institute for Gender Studies, Shih Hsin University, Taiwan. Her research interests include queer pedagogy, urban spaces, gender and sexualities, new media and visual culture. Since 1994, she has worked in NGOs / community-based organizations in the fields of violence against women, juvenile justice, queer youth, aboriginals, mental health, substance use and HIV/AIDS. She is author of Conditional Spaces: Hong Kong Lesbian Desires and Everyday Life (Hong Kong University Press, 2011).