Queer Cultures in Digital Asia| “I Look at How They Write Their Bio and I Judge From There”: Language and Class Among Middle-Class Queer Filipino Digital Socialities in Manila

Paul Michael Leonardo Atienza


Mobile digital media allow for multiple ways to present the digital self through linguistic and semiotic infrastructures to optimize the yield of responses from potential intimate connections. Throughout this article, I examine how queer Filipino men choose to select words and images, deploy categories, and use specific linguistic tools in the construction of their digital selves on mobile digital platforms. These digital representations generate hierarchies and categorizations used on digital sites as well as in real life. I focus on three middle-class queer Filipino men from Manila and their specific evaluative criteria when seeking potential intimate partners on various mobile digital media platforms. Their practices in and beliefs about socio-sexual app profile construction and communication demonstrate evaluative criteria that emphasize specific class and gender discrimination. Based on more than 10 months of ethnographic work in Metro Manila, my study of language registers combined with platform ideologies add to the heteroglossia of digital communicative praxis and contribute to a nuanced understanding of the vernaculars of queer digital sociality in Manila.


gay Manila, socio-sexual apps, queer linguistics, middle class

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