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Accepted Paper:

"No asiatici, no cinesi": defining ethnic boundaries in MSM dating apps and the experience of Asian gay men in Milan  
Massimo Modesti (Independent Researcher)

Paper short abstract:

In MSM dating apps, some Asian gay/bisexual men living in Western countries, experience refusal and fetishisation because of their ethnicity. I tried to understand how they perceive and give sense to ethnic boundaries and to sexual racism comparing their online with offline experience in Milan.

Paper long abstract:

In globalising and transnational contexts, hegemonic culture has contributed to the reproduction of boundaries, identities and categories not only in offline spaces, but also - and perhaps more strongly - in online spaces. In male gay community, online dating has been used from the beginning of the internet era: it assumed an important role in connecting people and created a parallel virtual world.

Forty years after the beginning of mass migrations to Italy, an emerging group of gay/bisexual people with migrant backgrounds is part of life in many Italian towns. Particularly in Milan, their presence is evident on gay dating apps and reflects quite accurately the national groups who have settled in town. They can be immigrants, children of immigrants or international students. In mainstream MSM dating apps - as PlanetRomeo - a certain quantity of sexual racism emerges, particularly against Asian people, and this has been confirmed also by them.

I explored the experience of a group of Asian gay/bisexual men and I tried to understand how they perceive and give sense to ethnic boundaries reproduced in online and offline spaces for MSM. Studies in United States and Australia have already raised the problem of sexual racism against Asian gay people, who are ironically on the opposite side of Black men in being refused or fetishised. I also tried to focus on the intersections between ethnicities and other stigmatised features in online dating and the interconnections between broader racism and sexual racism in online and offline gay spaces.

Panel P135
Public and private redrawn: geosocial sex and the offline [ENQA]
  Session 1