同志 tongzhi studies at fudan university

Here’s another piece on the new queer studies class at Fudan University. Besides thinking this is really cool and China is so ready this, the remarkable thing is the way most progressive gay issues are presented as another round of patronisingly applauding backwards old China as it finally tries to catch up to progressive and been-there-forever English-speaking utopia.

I’d be surprised if there was any country that could claim to have a nation-wide group of universities which have had an established queer studies department of more than 15 years. Even Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble, which is pretty much a pivotal text in the whole identity politics field was only published in the early 90s. And as I think I’ve said before (wow!, I actually did), there’s an attitude to sex in China that is wholly and intrinsically different to that of the Christian English-speaking enclave of countries, which would be much more interesting to see evolve than to have Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, coloured handkerchiefs, and pissy queens calling each other ‘sister’ transplanted onto a hundred million Chinese queers.

A class like this would be unremarkable in the US, where many students are quite open about their homosexuality and the curriculum has long included offerings reflecting their interests. But among China’s gay and lesbian population, which may be as large as 48 million by some estimates, the new course is being portrayed as a major advance.

Less than a decade ago, homosexuality was still included under the heading of hooliganism in China’s criminal code, and it was only four years ago that the Chinese Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.

“This is definitely a big breakthrough in contemporary society, because for so many years, homosexuals have lived at the edge of society and have been treated like dissidents,” said Zhou Shengjian, director of a gay advocacy group in Chongqing. “For such a university to have a course like this, with so many participants and experts involved, will have a very positive impact on the social situation of gay people, and on the fight against AIDS.”

— Taipei Times

Continue reading

同志 tongzhi queers in China’s universities

Tong Ge, who is in his late 50s, said the haunts for homosexuals had changed dramatically in recent years. “Up until about 1998 we used to meet in public toilets and parks,” he said. “Now there are bars, meetings, and even sports events.”

Yet the writer’s own life expresses the poignant half-world of China’s homosexuals. His novels like Good Boy Luo Ge have not been published in the Chinese mainland, only in Hong Kong, under a still-prurient censorship policy that has also restricted exhibition of some fine Chinese and Hong Kong films dealing with gay and lesbian stories.

His first love affair was at age of 17 when he and a male friend were assigned to Inner Mongolia at the start of the Cultural Revolution. One night, the two got drunk and found each other.

“It was wonderful – everything happened,” he said. “I felt like it was something I’d been waiting for a long time. I had no concept then of what homosexuality was – it was a period without reflection.”

— Sydney Morning Herald

Continue reading

化境神似 from zhwj

I can’t remember what I was reading which had the link to this, but after being stunned by In the Footsteps of Joseph Rock, I wandered straight on into Chinese Science-Fiction zhwj’s blog, 化境神似. Which I’m not even going to attempt to translate. Which is fine because zhwj does a great job in explaining both the meaning and context of this in About this blog’s name.

Along with his stories of travelling to America to study in Journey to the West, zhwj has translations and commentary on the remarkable Q版语文 Q Reader by 林长治 Lin Changzhi,”An outstanding textbook for key national kindergartens, and recommended reading material for mental institutions around the globe.”

Continuing the textbook pretense, each chapter ends with a question section including:

multiple-choice comprehension questions for which the answers are all non-sequiturs. Like many web bios, that for Huffing Wolf in The Three Little Pigs lists his QQ number. The question is: “What does Huffing Wolf use his QQ number for? (A) to troll for chicks, (B) trick small animals into coming outside and then eating them, (C) contact the writer for convenient contracting of articles (D), spread rumors on the internet.”

thought questions “If you were a cute, delicate little pig and your mother kicked you out, how would go about getting a house?”

activities “Practical Exercise: With your parent’s assistance, construct a pigpen on your balcony and raise cats inside. Observe the cats’ reaction,” and “Doodle Question: In the body of the pig below, write the name of your enemy. Find some pins and stick them in.”