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Episode 2 LGBTQ+ Censorship in Chinese Media and the Rise of Danmei

Skate Courduff

Pink and red lockets and wishes in Tianjin, China. One large heart locket hangs in the middle with the words 'true love' written on it in Chinese.

The rise of male/male relationships in donghua and manhua has created an influx of LGBTQ+ discussion around censorship in China. This podcast drives the conversation in a different direction and starts including other identities into the mix.

Danmei has gained a large international fanbase in recent years. The discussion will follow how it is being received in China, as well as gain insight from Chinese members of the fanbase. The types of identities and relationships that are represented can paint a picture of the social climate, as well as the results of their historical stance on the matter.

This podcast gives a brief look into China’s history with LGBTQ+ figures in ancient texts, examples of how language can be harmful in terms of applying Western labels, the key differences in pressure and expectations in China depending on a person’s identity, and the boundaries of what results in genuine representation.

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Skate Courduff (she/they) is an aspiring writer and photographer from California. They are passionate about LGBTQ+ activism and the intersectionality of equality. Her favorite pastimes include reading, napping with their beagle, or finding some new vegan junk food restaurant to frequent. She hopes to have the chance to travel the world and explore new possibilities of representation through their writing.

Further Reading

Blain, Hayden. “A History Of Homosexuality In China.” Culture Trip, 8 Oct. 2015, Accessed May 2021.

Chen, Sally Xiaojin. “Relational Interaction and Embodiment: Conceptualizing Meanings of LGBTQ Activism in Digital China.” Communication and the Public, vol. 5, no. 3-4, 2020, pp. 134–148.

Duberman, Martin B., and Vivian Ng. A Queer World: the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader. New York University Press, 1997.

Gandhi, Lakshmi. “In Many Asian Languages, 'LGBTQ' Doesn't Translate. Here's How Some Fill the Gaps.”, NBCUniversal News Group, 12 Oct. 2020, Accessed May 2021.

Gerkin, Kody. The One-Child Policy, Gay Rights, and Social Reorganization in China. 2010,

Hinsch, Bret. “Women in Ancient China.” Google Books, Rowman & Littlefield, 14 May 2018,

Hua, Boya, et al. “LGBT Older Adults at a Crossroads in Mainland China: The Intersections of Stigma, Cultural Values, and Structural Changes Within a Shifting Context.” International Journal of Aging & Human Development, vol. 88, no. 4, 2019, pp. 440–456.

Huang, Shuzhen, and Arizona State University (Publisher). “Post-Oppositional Queer Politics and the Non-Confrontational Negotiation of Queer Desires in Contemporary China.” ASU Digital Repository, Arizona State University, 2016,

Jiu, Tan. SQ Cong Ni De Ming Zi Kai Shi = SQ Begin w/Your Name! Zhejiang Ren Min Mei Shu Chu Ban She, 2016.

Lai, Cathy. “'X也'and 'Ta': The Gradual Rise of Gender-Neutral Pronouns in Chinese.” Ariana Life, 10 July 2020,

Liu, Petrus. “Chinese Queer Theory.” Queer Marxism in Two Chinas. Duke University Press, 2015.

Neill, James. The Origins and Role of Same-Sex Relations in Human Societies. McFarland, 2011.

Tong Xiu, Mo Xiang. Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation (魔道祖师, Mó Dào Zǔ Shī). 2015.

“The Untamed.” IMDb, 27 June 2019,

Yang, Ling, and Xu, Yanrui. “Danmei, Xianqing, and the Making of a Queer Online Public Sphere in China.” Communication and the Public, vol. 1, no. 2, 2016, pp. 251–256.

Music Credits

'Awake' by Sappheiros is under a Creative Commons license (CC BY 3.0) Music promoted by BreakingCopyright:

“Chinese Sentimental” Music produced by OrangeHead via

"Doug Maxwell - Lau Tzu Ehru" Music promoted by BreakingCopyright:

“Legend of Far East” Bryan Chi / East Asian Music provided by

"Peritune - Chinatown Healing" Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) Music provided by BreakingCopyright: