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Gay men's digital cultures beyond Gaydar and Grindr: LINE use in the gay Chinese diaspora of Australia

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Recent research on gay men's digital cultures has focused predominantly on Western, English-language-based sites and populations. In the case of Australia, a country with an official multiculturalism framework in place and against a backdrop of significant levels of Asian immigration over the past several decades, a more pluralistic approach is needed to critically interrogate the dialectic between platforms, users and wider sociocultural complexities. To this end, the current paper presents research in progress on the social chat application LINE and its use amongst the Chinese diaspora of gay men in Australia. Drawing on data from participant observation carried out over several months during late 2015 and early 2016 in an Australian-based LINE group for local Chinese gay men, we highlight here how LINE functions as an important intermediary for many Chinese men engaging with gay men's digital cultures in this context. In particular, we show how LINE plays a crucial role in Chinese gay men's engagements with gay men's digital culture in Australia by (1) mediating this group's navigations of new social and cultural environments and (2) remediating their experiences within other platforms central to the broader GLBT community.
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Keywords: Chinese diaspora; LINE; digital culture; gay men

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Digital Media Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Publication date: June 3, 2018

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