The Dialogues on Gender, Culture, & Identities are glad to invite you to
Rainbow Parents: Neo-Familism and the LGBT Movement with Chinese Characteristics
Prof. Wei Wei (East China Normal University)
Location: DB-C04 (Lord Dearing Building)
Date: Thursday, 12th April 2018
Time: 6pm to 7.30pm
The pressure from families and relatives to marry and procreate, under the Confucian cultural tradition, is arguably the major problem faced by people in China who wish to live openly as LGBTs. Such a strong tension between Chinese tongzhi and their natal families has been widely documented and recognized in academic researches and media reports. In recent years, however, more and more parents openly support their LGBT children, mostly through participating in advocacy works provided by PFLAG China. How has the long-time heteronormative Chinese family transformed from the major source of repression over LGBT people to an active advocator and ally for the latter’s right? Based on my participant observation and in-depth research on PFLAG China, this presentation aims to address this question by linking the changing role of Chinese families in the LGBT movement to the transformation of family institution in terms of demographic shift, intergenerational relationship and government policies in a transitional society. Drawing insight from Yan Yunxiang’s recent theorization of neo-familism, I propose putting families of origin into the center of the present-day LGBT activism. Given China’s rising as a new global power, the implication of neo-familism for transnational LGBT politics will also be discussed.
Wei Wei is a Professor of Sociology at East China Normal University. He received his B.A. in Sociology from Peking University (1996) and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Loyola University Chicago (2003, 2006). His teaching and research interest includes gender/sexuality, popular culture and qualitative methods, with a focus on identity formation, public space, and community mobilization organized around homosexuality in contemporary Chinese society. In addition to authoring two Chinese books Going Public: The Production and Transformation of Queer Spaces in Chengdu, China (2012) and Queering Chinese Society: Urban Space, Popular Culture and Social Policy (2015), he has published more than twenty articles in both English and Chinese peer-reviewed journals, including Culture, Health & Sexuality, Journal of Homosexuality, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Journal of Asian Studies, and Chinese Journal of Sociology.
The Dialogues on Gender, Culture, & Identities are supported by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.