Queer Cultures in Digital Asia| Strategic, Conflicted, and Interpellated: Hong Kong and Chinese Queer Women’s Use of Identity Labels on Lesbian Dating Apps
Dating apps have become an indispensable part of lesbian lives in China and Hong Kong. These platforms give queer women the choice to use identity labels to describe their gender presentations and dating preferences. For example, T andTB signify masculine presentation; P and TBG signify femininity and attraction to T and TB; H describes in-between-ness; pure refers to feminine women who are exclusively attracted to other feminine women; and no label indicates a rejection of all labels. Drawing from seven in-depth interviews and participant observations, this article illustrates how these women creatively interact with the apps’ affordance to strategically self-present. It demonstrates that these women feel ambivalent about using labels, which they see as both effective and restrictive, and argues that their app experiences can directly shape their own self-identity. Finally, this case study provides important insights into the challenges identity categories pose for dating app users of nonnormative sexuality and gender, which might be relevant to other cultural contexts.