Of longing and waiting: An inter-Asia approach to love and intimacy among older lesbians and bisexual women

Denise T-S TANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

7 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines same-sex intimacies formed by and among older Chinese lesbians and bisexual women who were born from the late 1930s to the late 1950s through qualitative interviews and participant observation conducted in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. For this paper, I aim at complicating cultural notions of love, romance and intimacies, that were brought up within interstices of connected histories, gender roles and marginalized sexual subjectivities. Based on ethnographic data collected during 2016–2018, I elaborate on the moments of longing and waiting as redefining modern notions of love and intimacy across time and spatial dimensions. Then I bring up a methodological episode where inter-Asian referencing intersects with Chinese modernities to illustrate how gender and sexuality meet, intersect and influence each other in the cultural imagination and eventual materialization of women’s same-sex desires. The last section will examine the politics of butchness as protection and as a form of politeness.
Original languageEnglish
Article number136346072096411
Pages (from-to)365-380
Number of pages16
Issue number4
Early online date13 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

The author would like to thank all her participants for their sharing first and foremost. She would also like to thank Shawna Tang, Pearl Wong, Tong Ping-An and Lin Yu-Chun for their collaboration and assistance in this project.

The author disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This project received funding from the General Research Fund under Hong Kong SAR Government Research Grants Council (Project Ref.: 17636116).


  • Chinese modernity
  • Older Chinese lesbian and bisexual women
  • inter-Asia method
  • masculinity
  • same-sex intimacy


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