. . .
Interview with Shi Tou, Beijing
December 24, 2003
What follows is the edited transcript of an interview conducted by the author
with Shi Tou, lesbian artist, lead actress in Li Yu’s film Fish and Elephant (dis-
cussed in chapter 6), and one of the best-known lesbian activists and public
figures in the People’s Republic of China. The discussion is wide-ranging,
touching on topics including the public response to Fish and Elephant, Shi
Tou’s role as a “public lesbian” in China, and the rise of lesbian activism in
Beijing. It offers a glimpse of the recent emergence of a minoritized lesbian
identity and community in mainland China: social formations that at once
draw upon, reconfigure, and coexist alongside the universalizing formations
of women’s same-sex love discussed in the preceding chapters.
. . .
Fran Martin: I know that several years ago you came out publicly to the media;
could you tell me about that?
Shi Tou: It was a program screened in 1990 on Hunan Satellite TV. The topic
was “Approaching Homosexuality” (Zoujin tongxinglian); the program was
called Speak Your Mind (You hua hao shuo). They invited me, [the gay author and
filmmaker] Cui Zi’en, and [the sexual sociologist] Li Yinhe as special guests;
Cui and I were there in the capacity of homosexuals; Li was there as a scholar
on this topic. The purpose wasn’t for us to come out; it was just to have a dis-
cussion on the topic of homosexuality. But, through that, of course in fact
we did go public.
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