Edited by Ray Yep, June Wang and Thomas Johnson
Chapter 11: Gay and lesbian communities in urban China
This chapter provides an overview of the latest social scientific research on gay and lesbian culture in post-Mao urban China. It specifically focuses on the significance of urbanization for the social manifestations of same-sex eroticism. This chapter argues that Chinese cities have become an important site of gay and lesbian political mobilization since the late 1970s. My analysis identifies three interrelated types of political mobilization that have been examined in-depth across the literature on queer urban China: (1) the pursuit of civil rights, (2) the claiming of cultural citizenship and (3) the political manoeuvring of social space. The major cities that constitute the focus of my discussion include Beijing, Changsha, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenyang and Taipei. With respect to spatial politics, the chapter also discusses the relationship of urban queerness to alternative social sites beyond the physical boundaries of geographical China, including overseas communities and cyberspace.
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