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East Asian Queer Cultures Part II: LGBT Politics, Queer Lives, and the Rainbow Market

Sun, June 26, 3:00 to 4:50pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: 1F, 110

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel Proposal Application


In recent years, the East Asian region has seen a growing intensity in LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) rights-based activism alongside a rapid development of queer commercial cultures. Yet, the articulations of queer urban centers in the region as legitimate and inter-connected neoliberal sites of queer desires continue to be rendered invisible, often being dismissed as “non-Western” regional knowledge in mainstream queer scholarship (Yue and Leung 2015), and subsumed with subordinate status in established area studies. This twin panel therefore aims to both formulate and complicate the idea of “East Asian queer cultures” by bringing together the works of scholars located in various queer urban centers in East Asia.

Part II of the panel examines the recent developments in LGBTQ politics and commercial markets vis-à-vis the lived experiences of queer-identified people in Japan, Taiwan and China. The opening up of mainstream businesses to the “rainbow market” and the granting of rights to queer people have often been criticized as “the new homonormativity” (Duggan 2003, 50)—a domestication of gay politics and a reinforcement of heteronormative institutions. For many gender/queer scholars in the “west”, such normalizing tendencies must be resisted. However, in the context of Asia where being openly queer has yet to become a viable option, how can we understand the recent developments in the region beyond a critique of depoliticization and assimilation? Through four case studies in the East Asian region, this panel seeks to complicate existing “western” frameworks for understanding sexual citizenship.

Presenters will facilitate the Q&A/discussion session.

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