First Advisor

Shawn Smallman

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in International & Global Studies: East Asian and University Honors


International and Global Studies




Sexual minorities -- China -- Shanghai, Sexual orientation -- China -- Shanghai, Transsexuals -- China -- Social conditions, Transsexuals -- China -- Shanghai -- Social conditions, Gays -- China -- Shanghai -- Social conditions




In this undergraduate honors thesis, I utilize supplementary research, the theories presented by Michel Foucault, Eve Sedgwick, Jürger Habermas, and Roland Barthes in addition to my own personal experiences and observations through an autoethnographic lens to answer the question, “How do gender and sexual minority groups, such as queer and trans people, develop, maintain, and grow community spaces in Shanghai, China?” This work seeks to shine a light on the often underrepresented and unstudied topic of queer and trans communities in China, and how they continue to flourish despite pre-existing structures that deter them. Evoking Foucault’s imagery of a different economy of bodies and pleasure, I seek to understand the growth and expansion of queer and trans communities in China. This paper discusses the role of authenticity and “coming out”, the role of the internet and capitalism in the expansion of the “cyber sphere”, and the role of the government in attempting to subvert the Chinese public's increasing acceptance of queer and trans people.


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