Everyday erotics in urban density: an ethnography of older lesbian and bisexual women in Hong Kong

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Lesbian spaces, in terms of their social, cultural, sexual or political purposes, have been dwindling in recent years within global North lesbian geographies. For this article, I would like to put forward a historical analysis of social spaces in Hong Kong through a qualitative ethnographic study of 12 older lesbians and bisexual women aged 60 years and above. Expanding upon Yue and Leung’s theoretical assertion of disjunctive modernity and urban neoliberalism, I proceed to develop my argument that lived experiences in an urban environment diffuses and decenters the assertion of one’s lesbian identity and sexual subjectivity across time and space. Under the British colonial era, the assertion of one’s Chinese womanhood as independent and modern intersects with rapid industrialization and social transformations which lead to culturally-specific spatial practices in locating lesbian desires. I call this mode of spatial practice as everyday erotics in density to describe the way of navigating sexual desires in relation to urban development, where becoming a woman with lesbian desires mean not only carving out one’s alternative erotic space but also disengaging with traditional gender roles in one’s life course and redefining gender and sexuality for an older generation of women.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1649-1668
Number of pages30
JournalGender, Place, and Culture
Issue number11
Early online date15 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

The author would like to thank all her participants for their sharing first and foremost. She would also like to thank Pearl Wong and Phi Lip for their collaboration and assistance in this project.

This project received funding from the General Research Fund under Hong Kong SAR Government Research Grants Council (Project Ref.: 17636116).


  • Chinese women
  • Hong Kong
  • colonialism
  • gender and sexualities
  • older lesbians and bisexual women
  • spatial practice


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