newfound tenderness, claiming Cheung as their own. In their understandable haste to include him in a political narrative of mainstream acculturation and queer stardom, Cheung was eulogized as an "icon (or sacred figure, shengxiang) of transgression." But amidst declarations of "pride" and "bravery," the public conveniently forgot how Cheung had subtly and ambiguously crafted the sexuality of his public persona – never "openly" declaring himself as tongzhi and only gradually "coming out" once as bisexual while publicly acknowledging his partner Daffy Tong Hok-Tak. Leung observes the erasure of the important changeabilities and nuances that ought to compose "a more enduring and intimate place in our queer memory" (88). The same is true in queer historiographies; we rush to claim famous figures as "ours" (rather proprietarily) without considering the agency of the historical actor in constructing their unique sexual scripts or even the presentisms and Euro/Americentricisms that color such depictions.
The title of Leslie Cheung's gay flick, 春光乍洩 (literally, Emergence of the Scenery of Spring), is an idiom meaning "the exposure of something intimate or indecent." (Interesting that intimacy and indecency are often equated; perhaps it is simply indecent to be publicly intimate?) Indeed, I would argue that it is these forms of personal sexual meaning-making that transcend celebrity and draw a veil between our presentations and experiences – conjuring a form of queerness that exists perpetually on a knife's edge of privacy/publicity, intimacy/indecency. Consider "sham marriages" that most LGBT Westerners decry as oppressive and unnecessarily assimilatory while they, too, allow their sexualities to be institutionalized. While gays and lesbians allow the mainstream to subsume and erode their complexity, tongzhi adapt mainstream narratives to fit their lives (without necessarily having to give up that which makes them tongzhi). Within the interactionist model, Goffman would likely label this a form of cynical impression management; the self is an act, developed to give the right impression to different audiences. It is important to remember that the origination story of tongzhi as a sexual-communal identifier begins with a film festival. There's something to be said for the symbolism embedded within that mythos – the uses of scripts and performance in our social and sexual lives.