The other yellow fever: Commentary from LGBT activist Fan Popo

Fan Popo (范坡坡) shares his experience with racial preferences in China's LGBT community

Gibt es eigentlich den Yellow-Fever-Stereotyp auch in der chinesischen LGBT-Szene? Diese Frage haben wir uns bei der Arbeit an unseren Spotlight-Artikeln Yellow Fever und Liebe ohne Grenzen? gestellt. Arseny hat für sinonerds die Meinung von Regisseur Fan Popo (范坡坡), LGBT-Aktivist aus Beijing, eingeholt:

Racial preference is a thing in the LGBT community, especially among gay men. There are even some labels to describe the preferences: “potato queen” (Asians who love white guys), “rice queen” (white guys who love Asians), and “sticky rice” (Asian-Asian). This kind of behaviour is especially obvious in formerly colonised places or international cities like Hong Kong. In one particular place there are two bars on opposite sides of the same street, one is for “potato queens” and “rice queens”, the other caters to the “sticky rice” community. It seems that these two are very distinct communities, they hardly touch each other. It was a culture shock even for me when I realised that.

Personally I don’t have racial preference in dating. I am not aware of a word to describe people like me (probably we just don’t need a label). So far I only had Chinese boyfriends, but I had dates and sexual encounters with white, black and Latino guys. Sometimes, when they first time touch my skin, they would be very surprised and exclaim “Wow! So smooth and soft!” It’s difficult to describe what I felt when I was on the receiving end of these “exotic compliments”.

On dating apps like grindr you often come across profiles saying “no Asian” or “only Asian”. I usually see this in a positive way: because they made their preference clear even before talking, it will save time for both of them. But I really feel sorry for them, for they narrow the pool they can choose from and shut down other possibilities. The same is true for gender. I never see myself as “monosexual” and would always be open to exploring more. I hope the future world will allow for neutral and tolerant attitudes to things like gender and race, and even to the more complex issues of nations and religions.

But if we look at our reality, we still have to cope with all these labels. Regrettably the world does not seem to be moving towards the ideal way. Whether you look at the recent events of police brutality in America, the ISIS terror group, or even Air China inflight magazines – you will see that people are routinely judged by their skin colour or their beliefs. In my opinion the only solution is to always be conscious and reflective of our own actions.

For anyone interested in LGBT films and visual art, Fan Popo recommends the works of Wayne Yung, a Chinese Canadian film-maker based in Berlin.

Image credit: flickr photo by 小奧 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license.



Arseny Knaifel

Arseny Knaifel hat Chinastudien in Berlin und Peking studiert und ist Gründer und Rapper in Chinas deutschester Band Feichang Fresh. Nach einem turbulenten Jahr in einer chinesischen Agentur für Social Media Marketing, ist er aktuell als Filmemacher in Berlin und der Welt unterwegs.

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