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Tongzhi LivingMen Attracted to Men in Postsocialist China$
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Tiantian Zheng

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780816691999

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816691999.001.0001

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Embracing the Heterosexual Norm

Embracing the Heterosexual Norm

The Double Lives of Tongzhi

(p.142) Chapter 6 Embracing the Heterosexual Norm
Tongzhi Living

Tiantian Zheng

University of Minnesota Press

Chapter 6 discusses the ways in which tongzhi in my research cover up their sexual identities and fail to formulate an open-identity social activist group. Although tongzhi congregate in cruising areas and work at local AIDS organizations, they keep their real names, home addresses, and workplace information confidential from each other. They are cautious and discreet for fear of possible blackmail or disclosure of their tongzhi identity to their family and colleagues. The weak ties and lack of solidarity among them have engendered an environment that is not conducive to organized protests. Aspiration for membership in the dominant culture has also weakened their solidarity. When tongzhi’s self-criticisms coalesce with their acceptance of the heteronormative discourse, it marks a decline in their identification with the tongzhi community and an increase in their identification with the mainstream. When tongzhi offer each other advice on how to cope with romantic relationships and how to fend off parents’ pressure to marry, it marks an increase in their identification with the tongzhi community and a decline in their identification with the mainstream.

Keywords:   sexual identity, confidentiality, LGBT community, tongzhi community, heteronormality, social support

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