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Coming out and going abroad: The chuguo mobility of queer women in China

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This article is part of a research project that explores the movement of queer women (lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer identified) from China to Australia and other Western countries. The research is based on participant observation and interviews that were conducted in selected cities in China and Australia. This article centers on queer women’s narratives and experiences of going abroad, chuguo. Economic and social transformations in China have given rise to a new class of mobile urbanites. Going abroad has become a preferred life plan for young elites and the single child generation from urban, middle-class family backgrounds. The author looks at how mobility, sexuality, and gender non-conformity are intertwined in queer women’s crafting of their life aspirations, and how the normative aspiration of chuguo in contemporary China enables (and disables) new ways of living and being. Building on the author’s previous theorization of the “politics of public correctness,” it is argued that transnational mobility has become a new homonormative value, which interplays with the neoliberal desire to be a mobile cosmopolitan subject in post-socialist China.

Keywords: chuguo; homonormativity; queer mobility and migration; queer women from China

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 2, 2020

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