CH R IS B E RRY, F RA N MARTI N,
A N D AU DR EY YUE
Introduction: Beep—Click—Link
At utopia-asia.com, a leading Asian gay and lesbian Web portal, banners for
Time magazine, BBC World Service, and The Advocate loom large.∞ In High
Tech Rice, an answering machine connects a Filipina American as she lives
between two cultures.≤ In Melbourne, Australia, Yellow Kitties, an Asian
lesbian support group, comes of age with a logo that reconfigures an iconic
character from Japan’s Sanrio.≥ In New York City, a South Asian gay and
lesbian ‘‘Jungli Boogie Bhangra Blow-Out’’ fundraiser spins house, hip-
hop, chutney, soca, and reggae. At Rice Bar in Sheung Wan, near Central,
Hong Kong gams (gay Asian males) seek out other Hong Kong gams.
The recent emergence of gay and lesbian communities in Asia and its
diaspora is intimately linked to the development of information technology
in the region. The July 1994 o≈cial introduction of the Internet in Sin-
gapore, the launch of China’s English-language Web in 1993, and Malaysia’s
Multimedia Super Corridor gateway inception in 1996 have mediatized the
region, with some 47 million Japanese currently with Internet access and
half of Koreans over the age of 17 being regular Internet users.∂ Information
has indeed sparked a revolution, transforming lives and lifestyles. More
significant, information has enabled the expression of sexual identities in a
region that is notorious for the regulation of both information and sexual
conduct. Since the mid-1990s, gay and lesbian literature about Asia and
Asian diasporas has emerged with titles such as Gay and Lesbian Asia,
Di√erent Rainbows, and Q&A: Queer in Asian America.∑ The fluidity and
ubiquity of information, from storage and image to media markets, has
increased with digitization, making it more powerful and accessible. Infor-
mation has crossed national boundaries, enabled global gay and lesbian
coalitions, and formed new queer cultures incorporating Asian imagin-
aries. These cultures foreground the historicity of the mediascapes of
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