As we seek to envision the future of sexual identity politics in Hong Kong and abroad, we must evaluate the interplay of space, "modernity," economics and the law in shaping our perspectives. Hong Kong's urban landscapes continue to transform in parallel with its sociopolitical topography. We must (re)conceptualize space as neither purely physical nor impermeable. At this potent political moment – fraught with both expectancy and uncertainty – we exist not just in a state of liminal temporality but liminal acculturation.
First, note that cohabitation is presently being utilized to denote "non-traditional" sexual intimacy and/or partnership. Examining the history of familial living arrangements in the last century, we know that immigration patterns and class dynamics conjured circumstances wherein multiple families shared single tenement rooms. In "A Fading Tongzhi Heterotopia," Travis SK Kong explores how gay men (now all over sixty years of age) negotiated their home lives, bearing in mind that "from 1842 to 1990 (the year when homosexuality was decriminalized), there was no legal homosexual space in Hong Kong" (900). In doing so, he blurs the lines between the parallel binaries of publicity/privacy, heterosexuality/homosexuality. Indeed, the interconnectedness of the four concepts may defy conventional expectation. The heterosexual family unit's private domain versus cruising at public toilets; or the public performance of a heterosexual lifestyle versus the private same-sex relationships one keeps hidden?
Following the 1980 MacLennan Incicent, "deviant sexual conduct" was no longer just a "legal issue," but an identity (905). The proliferation of "sites exclusively for tongzhi consumption" (e.g., bars, bathhouses, boutiques, and bookshops) post-1991 helped replace "the citizen-pervert" with "the good consumer citizen," while solidifying a "positive cultural sense of belonging for tongzhi" (908). Today, an online community of tongzhi may exercise their hybrid knowledge of Western "gay and lesbian studies [and] queer theories [...] and their Chinese cultural and literary heritage" (303) – as noted by Terri He in "Online Tongzhi?." The contrast between tongzhi experiences just over half a century ago and those today are stark, delineated not just by mediums of contact or methods of anonymity but access to information and means of self-definition. Both the public and private spaces have been intruded upon by capitalism and technology, and transformed from the inside out. As such, we are left to envision how this process interconnects with transnational flows of neocolonialist interests and glocalization.