Out in the Undercurrents: Queer Politics in Hong Kong Popular Music

Yiu Fai Chow, Jeroen de Kloet

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Queer culture in Hong Kong was characterized by a playful politics of invisibility, opacity, and ambivalence, proposed as a queer alternative to the confrontational, identity-based politics often advocated in the West. The coming out of pop star Anthony Wong and other celebrities in 2012 marks a turning point. Taking Hong Kong as a lens, this chapter investigates the articulation between sexuality and popular music in the context of China. It traces the emergence of a Chinese movement to find postcolonial, indigenous—tongzhi, ku’er—ways of understanding sexual diversity, leading to the disruptive surprise of public figures coming out, apparently in accordance with Western models and in contrast to earlier local sexual politics of ambivalence and invisibility. The discussion presents an inquiry into global queer theory and local popular music cultures, showing how the latter holds the potential to upset, or at least surprise, the conceptual premises of the former.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Music and Queerness
EditorsFred Everett Maus, Sheila Whiteley
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780199984169
ISBN (Print)9780199793525
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2019

User-Defined Keywords

  • Hong Kong
  • Anthony Wong
  • tongzhi
  • ku’ler
  • postcolonial
  • coming out
  • invisibility
  • ambivalence


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