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Shanghai Lalas

by Lucetta Yip Lo Kam

This is the first ethnographic study of 'lala' (lesbian, bisexual, and transgender) communities and politics in China, focusing on the city of Shanghai. Based on several years of in-depth interviews, the volume concentrates on 'lala's' everyday struggle to reconcile same-sex desire with a dominant rhetoric of family harmony and compulsory marriage, all within a culture denying women's active and legitimate sexual agency. Lucetta Yip Lo Kam reads discourses on homophobia in China, including the rhetoric of 'Chinese tolerance' and considers the heteronormative demands imposed on 'tongzhi' subjects. She treats 'the politics of public correctness' as a newly emerging 'tongzhi' practice developed from the culturally specific, Chinese forms of regulation that inform 'tongzhi' survival strategies and self-identification.

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