Migration and Diasporas
Based on in-depth interviews with highly-educated male Chinese immigrants who self-identified as gay in San Francisco and New York, this paper unpacks the intricate link between upward social mobility and individual pursuit for sexual freedom. While economic migration and life-style migration has been seen as conceptually different phenomena, the experiences of this group of middle-class, upwardly and geographically mobile homosexuals originated from mainland China attest to individual mobilization of migration strategies for the twin purposes of economic advancement and sexual freedom. It also shows how contemporary Chinese understanding of love, intimacy, and sexual freedom is embedded within neoliberal ideas of success and privilege. The respondents believe that only those who have proved themselves as economically, financially, and socially successful are entitled to, and would gain legitimacy from society, and in particular, their family, to pursuit their same sex love and intimacy. Migration across national borders and into a country that is widely seen as powerful and wealthy provides them with both the evidence to prove their success and entitlement to same sex love and the space to practise it.