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Bui, Long T. 2014. “Breaking into the Closet: Negotiating the Queer Boundaries of Asian American Masculinity and Domesticity,” Culture, Society and Masculinities 6(2): 129-149.


This article concerns Asian American queer masculinity and how the “coming out” process for gay Chinese men and their non-White immigrant families does not fit neatly within neat Western gender distinctions of public/private space. Using the film Ethan Mao as a primary text and case study, I argue for an intersectional approach to the coming out process for racialized sexual minorities. Ethan Mao is a film that tells the story of a Chinese American boy expunged from the home upon his family’s discovery of his homosexuality who returns to hold his family members hostage. The fictional story thematizes the indistinct spatial and symbolic boundaries of queer Asian American identity, masculinity, and domesticity. The film observes how gay men of color do not simply come out of the closet but break into it. Through an intersectional queer of color critique, I reconceptualize “the closet” as a synecdoche of the private home space, refiguring it as a contested site of belonging/exclusion to recognize the difficulties of “coming out” for certain queer racial male subjects.

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