This essay addresses the anxiety that many urban gay men in China express about “money boys”—a term used in English to refer to male sex workers who have sex with other men for money. The essay argues that money boys are a pressing issue for Chinese gay men because homophobia and dilemmas about the proper ways to challenge it are framed by the tremendous transformations, often called neoliberalism, that have occurred in China over the last twenty-five years and by the recent mobilization of Chinese national and cultural identity that creates tensions for gay men about desire and about cultural citizenship, or belonging. The essay further analyzes a recent experimental film by Cui Zi'en about money boys that challenges homonormativity in China.
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Lisa Rofel; The Traffic in Money Boys. positions 1 May 2010; 18 (2): 425–458. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-2010-009
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