"If the Stonewall Riots in New York in 1969 signified a formal beginning of the LGBT movement in the US, the MacLennan Incident in Hong Kong in 1980 shared the same significance in paving the way for the tongzhi movement in Hong Kong" – Travis S. K. Kong, Sky H. L. Lau, and Eva C. Y. Li. “The Fourth Wave? A Critical Reflection on the Tongzhi Movement in Hong Kong"
At the risk of seeming reductionist, myriad parallels may be drawn between minoritized sexual politics across time and place. As stated in my last post, the phallocentric treatment of lesbianism in the West (in the past and present, in everyday life and the historiography) is reminiscent of the Qing state’s primary sexual precept – “the impenetrability of all ‘decent’ people" (Vitiello, 128). Lucetta Yip Lo Kam also discusses the rarity of female
"Let Me Queer My Throat: Queer Rhetorics of Negotiation: Marriage Equality and Homonormativity." Harlot. Accessed March 27, 2017. http://harlotofthearts.org/ index.php/harlot/article/view/210/145.
"Odeon Hall around the turn of the century." Hurra draussen! Accessed March 23, 2017. https://hurra-draussen.de/was_ich_an_muenchen_vermissen_wuerde.
On August 29, 1867, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs approached the stage of the Grand Hall of the Odeon Theater in Munich with the intention of urging a room full of strangers to repeal discriminatory legislation that targeted “deviant” sexuality – the German penal code on so-called carnal violations. Ulrichs waited anxiously as the chairman of the Sixth Congress of German Jurists read his request to speak. Calling for a vote as to whether he should be heard, there was a resounding cry of “Yes!” punctuated by some protest. The assembly of over five hundred jurists, elected representatives, and a Bavarian prince turned their attention to Ulrichs as he approached the speaker’s platform “with breast pounding” (Kennedy, 114). He later recalled: "What gave me the strength . . . was the awareness that at that very moment, the distant gaze of comrades of my nature was fixed on me. Should I return their trust with cowardice? . . ." (Lombardi-Nash, 262).
For my final project in Digital History, I will be using 3D modeling software (SketchUp) to reconstruct the Grand Hall of the Odeon Theater in Munich – the site of the first public political protest for "gay" rights. Using drawings, descriptions, and photos (taken at the beginning, middle, and end of the last century), I will extrapolate how the Hall might have appeared to Ulrichs in 1867 as he made his speech. The Odeon was bombed during World War II in an air raid and, as such, both the interior and exterior restorations differ very much from Urichs' time. In attempting to capture this site's former aesthetic, I hope to humanize (perhaps even dramatize) this important moment in queer history for my audience. The tangibility of space is an important and engaging aspect of history that I would like to explore through this project. "Setting the scene" by replicating the Grand Hall allows us to experience history in new, poignant ways.
"Shi Tou and Mingming Karaoke." Art China. Accessed March 20, 2017. http://art.china.cn/huodong/2008-03/22/content_2135512.htm.
As my readings continue to trend more towards the sociological end of things, I will attempt to draw more historiographic (and, in future, historical) parallels to certain points of interest. For example, in Conditional Spaces: Hong Kong Lesbian Desires and Everyday Life, Denise Tang references several sociological studies in order to establish that "spaces are gendered according to hierarchies of class, gender and sexuality" (26). This observation easily extends to historical studies of homoerotic sensibility in late imperial China, wherein sexual hegemonies were based in class dynamics and gendered roles.
Tang opens Chapter 4 with a critical investigation of "what counts as tongzhi politics" amid the "dual process of g/localization and regionalization of sexual rights" in Hong Kong (89). My past readings have defined tongzhi in terms of abstract intention – such that the identity was constructed with the intent to encompass all sexual minorities. However, Tang argues that, in fact, tongzhi has become almost solely associated with gay middle class conformity. She highlights the role of the media in popularizing the term and relegating bisexuals and trans people to the sidelines of political discourse. (She makes no mention of sadomasochists.)