Opening up Marriage: Married <i>Lalas</i> in Shanghai

Kam Yip Lo Lucetta

in As Normal as Possible

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9789622099876
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206625 | DOI:
Opening up Marriage: Married Lalas in Shanghai

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This chapter is based on in-depth interviews with twenty-four lalas in Shanghai and it politicizes the discourses of standing up (zhan qi lai)/coming out (zhan chu lai). It also explores the negotiational conflicts between the desires for familial recognition of one's personal life and the aspiration for social recognition and political collectivity. In addition, it argues that the “politics of normalization” could be seen as a political strategy for maintaining sexual dissidence, earning visibility, recognition and potentially more freedom for a self-identified community in the long run. Married lala informants in this research show how sexually nonnormative women in China actively struggle for spaces between the two worlds of heterosexual marriage and same-sex relationship. Lala women who feel trapped in heterosexual marriages seek asylum in a foreign city that is away from their conjugal homes and familial obligations.

Keywords: Shanghai; lala; heterosexual marriage; politics of normalization; same-sex relationship

Chapter.  7411 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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