“#IAmGay# What About You?”: Storytelling, Discursive Politics, and the Affective Dimension of Social Media Activism against Censorship in China

Sara Liao


This article investigates the hashtag activism through which Chinese social media users have countered censorship of homosexual content. Based on a close examination of 798 original posts on Weibo tagged #IAmGay#, I found that the personalized stories circulated with the posts served as the building blocks for discursive politics. Being linked through digital media, these isolated individual posts generated connective actions that together formed an alternative discourse about LGBTQ rights and free speech and challenged the government’s hegemonic censorship. I argue here for a critical and reflexive recognition of the affective dimension of communication that problematizes the ways in which users make their voices heard through hashtag activism.


LGBTQ movement, hashtag activism, discursive politics, censorship, China

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