“Asian” Men on the Scene Academic Article uri icon


  • This article examines common assumptions behind the notion of "gay community," contrasting these views with the experiences of homosexual men originating from Southeast Asia on the commercial gay scene in Melbourne, Australia. The narratives here reveal fragmented social networks involving various social groups, categories of people and an "In/Out" culture where informants were culturally marginal. Fitting into the scene culture involves processes of assimilation, and loss of connection even with supportive ethnic networks. While all men who look for a place to belong on the scene generally feel pressure to assimilate to a predominantly white middle-class gay culture, Southeast Asian men generally had more cultural distance to cover. Men who are not well assimilated face exclusion, invisibility and discrimination. Differences and discrimination within Southeast Asian based networks also contributed towards fragmented relations. This article raises questions about dominant gay cultural forms, assumptions of gay solidarity, and how ethnic minority men make sense of and negotiate their sexual and social experiences.

publication date

  • February 16, 1999