Communicating ‘Race’ in A Digitized Gay China

Tianyang Zhou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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This chapter explores Chinese-Caucasian gay sexuality and its relationships with digital media technologies, focusing on the racial politics of gay online-dating culture in China. It interrogates the diverse performances of gayness in the interracial gay interactions, in order to understand how whiteness has inscribed gay men’s lives. By looking into the ways of the white ‘other’ in China communicating same-sex desires, practices, and subjectivities, I will illuminate how the Chinese gay man becomes ‘the other’ in his own country. My analysis serves to destabilize the normalcy of whiteness, viewing it as a historical, contextual, unfixed and unstable construct that continues to be negotiated online. At the same time I suggest that whiteness continues to gain new meanings in everyday communicative practices. In doing so, I want to direct attention to the underexplored theme of ‘race’ in Chinese gay and lesbian studies and help to answer calls for a critical interrogation of whiteness in Internet Studies. While gay white men are endowed with notable sexual capital in the interracial sexual fields of China, both online and offline, local Chinese gay men’s interaction with gay white men and their identification with Western gay discourses is best analyzed as being strategic, rather than a total, uncritical acceptance. Caucasian-Chinese gay interactions cannot be characterized by a simple dominant-dominated duality. The interracial sexual field may provide new sexual possibilities for local Chinese gay men, who can use interracial dating as a tool for their own empowerment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQueer Sites in Global Contexts: Technologies, Spaces, and Otherness
EditorsRegner Ramos, Sharif Mowlabocus
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781003002338
ISBN (Print)9780367433017
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2020

Publication series

NameRoutledge Advances in Critical Diversities


  • Race and culture
  • Gay
  • Sexuality
  • Mobile applications
  • China
  • Online Dating


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