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This essay reviews the influential work of a group of Leftist ‘sex liberation’ scholars who pioneered queer sexuality studies in Taiwan in the 1990s. In doing so, it focuses on their post-2000 political rift with the mainstream Taiwanese lgbt (tongzhi) rights movement. What ostensibly began as a split over views of same-sex marriage has developed into a contentious politics of Chinese versus Taiwanese national identity and what I call ‘tongzhi sovereignty’. In bringing together both national identity and sexual politics in Taiwan as increasingly intertwined sites of contestation, I argue that the two must be theorised in tandem. As a fertile site for unpacking this contentious divergence, I examine and problematise the way that cultural theorist Jasbir Puar’s popular concept of homonationalism has circulated in scholarship of cultural/sexuality studies about Taiwan as a slanted and largely unchecked analytic to criticise lgbt sociolegal progress and, for some scholars, obscures a pro-unification agenda.

Open Access
In: International Journal of Taiwan Studies