This (mostly) Chinese podcast list is part of my LGBTQ podcasts & media series for Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. The search began with curiosity to understand how queer Chinese societies discussed LGBT topics (from dating and their daily lives to same-sex marriage legislation and politics). What were they interested in and what preoccupied their thoughts? I found everything from regular talk shows, to audio books, to personal diaries and political discussions.
In addition to being a list, the aim of this blog post is to provide a basic cultural context for Taiwan, Hong Kong and China respectively. Though podcasts have picked up steam in the US, they are not nearly as popular in Asia, where media is consumed in different ways, through many regional platforms or channels. The purpose of providing context is to say that these podcasts may not be representative of general sentiments in society, but also that there is a lot more audio/video content than what is listed here because there are regional platforms and channels.
Side note: I found it incredibly difficult to search for Chinese LGBTQ content for a few reasons: 1) Chinese content is on platforms and not Google search friendly, 2) Google’s algorithm for Chinese isn’t as good as English (i.e. you type “LGBT” and it will probably also show related “queer” content, but not so in Chinese), 3) Chinese content producers are sadly not as SEO savy, so good stuff sadly has no description or keywords. So far, I feel like WOM and social networks (like FB, IG, and WeChat are the choice ways of spreading and discovering info.) 😥 If anyone has good hacks, please write a guest post!What’s included:
- Taiwan Podcasts, Hong Kong Podcasts, China Podcasts
- My TL;DR Top Podcast List
- Language marker [Cantonese / Mandarin / English]
- Link to either iTunes/Soundcloud/website
- Brief description where I could
Taiwan / Mandarin
My conclusion from my research is that Taiwan has a much bigger Youtube / vlogging culture compared to its podcasting culture. In addition, Taiwan is also the most open Chinese society when it comes to LGBTQ issues. You’ll find a wealth of movies, vlogs, and also dedicated media platforms, which I’ve listed in ‘LGBT Content for Taiwan‘.
[English] My Dear Queer (Ongoing)
This podcast is hosted in Kaohsiung by two expats, Bertus and Emmanuel. It’s great information about Taiwan’s gay culture (not yet seen as much of the rest of the LGBTQ acronym, but they just started in 2018).
[Mandarin] 笨瓜秀 pourquoi (Ongoing)
Admittedly, I don’t understand everything, but I like listening to it. The host interviews people on a variety of topics, including latest news such as using the gay bar in Taipei for 紅樓夢. He also seems to like playing Japanese songs between sections of his podcast.
[Mandarin /English] Being Gay in Taiwan
This is a single podcast Episode by The News Lens Radio and Ketagalan Media Co-Production.
Hong Kong / Cantonese
As many people know, Hong Kong is a bi/trilingual city. Over 90% of the city speaks Cantonese, while much of business is conducted in English. Increasingly, Mandarin is both a business and a street language. However, Hong Kong is also quite a segregated society and I would argue that fewer than 10% (maybe 1%?) of people socialise regularly in both local Cantonese and English settings. For media consumption, that basically translates to many people likely consume mainly Cantonese, Mandarin, or English content. Podcasts are not that popular and most content comes from the public radio, RTHK. English speakers also have little incentive to create or consume local English podcasts because they can easily access American, British, and Australian shows. This is my rationale to explain why all of Hong Kong’s LGBTQ podcasts are Cantonese. You can also find out more local queer culture in my brief guide to Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s public radio, RTHK, has many channels which touch on topics such as same-sex marriage, transgender rights, and queer families. A popular channel is 鏗鏘集, which will often tackle current affairs or public discussions, which include ongoing legal battles for same-sex spousal visas, same-sex marriage, and gender recognition. You can get my list of RTHK episodes, such as covering transgender individuals and public debate. Below are two channels that are explicitly LGBTQ related.
[Cantonese] 自己人 We are Family on RTHK (2018)
This show is on RTHK’s Radio 2, hosted by Brian Leung (梁兆輝), which is meant to be a platform for covering sexual and gender diversity (多元性向文化平台). From the snippets that I’ve listened to, the talk show could cover everything from global LGBTQ issues (such as Romania’s same-sex marriage) to a Carrie Lam’s 2018 October address that basically closed the door on same-sex marriage in Hong Kong.
[Cantonese] 彩虹交匯處 Rainbow Crossroads by RTHK (2017)
This is a mini TV drama series that covers personal stories along the LGBTQ spectrum that has also been uploaded to iTunes as a podcast. I’d recommend watching the videos, which are available on the RTHK website because it would make much more sense.
[Cantonese] Bubble Air
BubbleAir from what I gather is produced mostly by queer women and has talkshows on lesbian culture, travel and lifestyle programs, street interviews, and LGBTQ community news. Their Facebook group and Youtube channel is still updated. Please check my LGBTQ Hong Kong podcasts, videos and Youtube channels list for further details. Their iTunes podcasts include:
- 煮嘢樂悠 (2014-2016)
- 金雞與化骨龍 (2014-2016)
- 上戲接下戲 (2015 / Ongoing) New video episodes on their website.
- TB 單打日記 (2015-2016 / Ongoing) New episodes are uploaded to their website.
[Cantonese] Pooopup Online Radio
Pooopup Online Radio produces gay talk shows, which could be quite an interesting window into local gay culture. I sampled all the shows, and while the hosts and topics do differ, none of them stray too far from pure entertainment.
- 拗攣治療班 by Pooopup Online Radio (2011- 2016)
- A基B48 by Pooopup Online Radio (2012-13)
- 大基地 GayLand by Pooopup Online Radio (2017)
- 基餓遊戲 Hunger Gay by Pooopup Online Radio (2014-17).
China / Mandarin
I haven’t really listened to the Chinese podcasts from the Mainland, but readers should know that this is an under-represented list because I did not do in-depth platform searching. China has many media platforms that can cater to specific niches and need to be viewed in-platform making it difficult to centralise searches into one place such as iTunes. A friend who works in China pointed out that people in cities prefer to watch videos on their phone compared to pure audio. If you’re interested in doing your own research, going to video sites like Youku and Tudou or podcast platforms like Lizhi.fm or Ximalaya.fm would be a good start.
This post focuses more on the English podcast (episodes) I could find, with a short sampling of Chinese podcasts on contemporary topics because I get the impression global readers are interested in “gay rights” and human rights movements. I also have a longer list for LGBT China podcasts.
The English episodes will reflect the focus of the host show, which means that some may be more academic as opposed to the usual talk shows or interviews in pop culture podcasts. I’ve ordered based on the following:
- English-language podcasts (usually single episodes)
- Single podcasts with less common topics (i.e. trans)
- Still on-going / active podcasts
[English] Queer culture, perception, and representation within China (2019)
Probably the most representative discussion for queer womens’ identities between Alice Xin Liu, Sophie Lu, and Alex Li. One of them identifies as queer, another as bisexual, they are able to describe Chinese queer experiences with an awareness of bicultural people who have spent time in the US and New Zealand. Definitely start with this one!
[English] LGBT China by SupChina (2014)
This is a standalone episode hosted by Jeremy Goldkorn, David Moser, and Fan Popo. Fan Popo, who is non for the book Happy Together: Complete Record of a Hundred Queer Films (2017), and the director of the China Queer film festival
[English] Hongwei Bao, “Queer Comrades: Gay Identity and Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China” (NIAS Press, 2018) in New Books in East Asian Studies
This is one of my favourite podcast channels. It’s an academic series, that I think has fascinating topics, but I don’t know how many other non East Asian Studies people would agree. Anyway, this episode is a nice, recent deep-dive into gay identity in China.
[English] A Male Mencius’ Mother by the Chinese Literature Podcast (2016)
Male Mencius’ Mother, a sort of medieval Chinese version My Two Dads. It covers the province of Fujian, which is known to have samesex marriages between men. This is a sample of Chinese queer literature.
Special mention: Rela’s Youtube English Content
The video below has been viewed 1 million+ times
Additional Mandarin LGBT podcasts for China:
- 千基百佬汇 Gay Talk Show (2014 – Ongoing)
- gay基因 / 兔子Mr (Ongoing) — LGBT talk show
- GL爱在泉城(再读经典) (2018) Highlights from a girls love (GL) book that came out online in 2006.
- 北京同志中心 (2017) Done by the Beijing LGBT Center.
- 拉拉风向标lestalk (LiZhiFM ongoing) (full episodes) and (Ximalaya 2 min summaries) – talk show by lesbians, and some feminist topics
- 第七十二期：大陆与台湾近代同志运动 (2015) Episode compares LGBT movements in Taiwan and China
- E069.跨性别者的母亲 by 故事FM — a single episode about a trans person’s mother
- 同志有声小说【小虎】(2015) Collection of Netizen stories between 2007-9
- 台風 (2013-14) A collection of China’s LGBT online content.
TL;DR: My Top List
So for those of you who want just the short highlights, the ones I enjoyed listening to or keep on my phone are:
- My favourite LGBTQ discussion episode is by Loud Murmers, hosted by Mainland Chinese in the US titled ‘Queer Eye’ in a New Age (US/China, Mandarin)
- Hongwei Bao, “Queer Comrades: Gay Identity and Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China” by New Books in East Asian Studies (US, English) because NBEA is one of my favourite podcasts, but it doesn’t have that much LGBT content (for a more LGBT-specific one, try the Gender Studies one)
- 笨瓜秀 (Taiwan, Mandarin) because it’s chill and I like the way the host speaks
- My Dear Queer (Taiwan, English) because it compares cultures
- TB 單打日記 (Hong Kong / Cantonese) because it’s somewhat relevant to me and light-hearted entertainment
- ‘自己人 We are Family’ (Hong Kong, Cantonese) deserves special mention because I think it’s promising
As a final caveat, podcasts serve a different purpose for everyone. I listen to podcasts first and foremost to learn and care about the depth and nuance of content and the host’s presentation style. There are some great podcasts that I don’t listen to mostly because I get my fill of that discussion in real life. For example, I don’t feel the need to listen to podcasts in Hong Kong because I am connected to the local community and have people to discuss issues with.
As long as these podcasts meet what you’re looking for, we’re all good! And finally, I do recommend you check out the video content online. I don’t watch vlogs, but during my research, I found informative and fun Chinese gay and lesbian channels. You can head over to these links to check out Cantonese videos for Hong Kong and Mandarin videos for Taiwan.
This is part of my LGBTQ podcasts and media series for Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and Queer Asian Americans / Canadians. You can find additional posts for:
- LGBTQ Content for Taiwan: Movies, Podcasts, Youtube Channels
- Hong Kong’s LGBTQ Podcasts, Videos, and Youtube Channels
If you have any information you’d like to add, please drop me a comment here or on Twitter (@cupandtheroad).
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