Oral Histories of Older Gay Men in Hong Kong
Unspoken but Unforgotten
ISBN : 978-988-8528-06-6
200 pages, 6″ x 9″, 30 b&w illus.
“This is very personal and private, but I’ve told you everything.” Old Chan thus gives voice to the attitude expressed in all thirteen stories told in this intimate oral history of life at the margins of Hong Kong society, stories punctuated by laughter, joy, happiness, and pride, as well as tears, anger, remorse, shame, and guilt.
Illustrated with photos, letters, and other images, Oral Histories of Older Gay Men in Hong Kong: Unspoken but Unforgotten gives voice to the complexities of a “secretive” past with unique hardships as these men came to terms with their sexuality, adulthood, and a colonial society. The men talk with equal candour about how their sexuality remains a complication as they negotiate failing health, ageing, and their current role in society.
While fascinating as life histories, these stories also add insight to the theoretical debates surrounding identity and masculinity, coming out, ageing and sexuality, and power and resistance. Confined within the heteronormative culture prescribed by government, family, and religion, these men have lived the whole of their lives struggling to find their social role, challenging the distinction between public and private, and longing for a stable homosexual relationship and a liberating homosexual space in the face of deteriorating health and a youth-obsessed gay community.
‘This book makes an original contribution. Very few scholars, anywhere, have recorded the lives of older gay men. The stories of the men in this collection are intrinsically interesting, often poignant, and make for a compelling read. These life narratives really need to be preserved and made available to a wide audience—they are valuable historical documents.’ —Stevi Jackson, The University of York
‘Kong’s work demonstrates the potential and power of research to not only understand and describe phenomena, but to effect change—to make a difference. Clearly, this book has made a difference—not only in the lives of the interviewees, but much more broadly as through the book in its original language and the hopeful, inclusive message the group epitomizes and shares.’ —Brian de Vries, San Francisco State University
The book that inspired the film Suk Suk (叔•叔), which was voted best film by Hong Kong Film Critics Society and nominated for more major film awards!