‘Asian’ and ‘White’ Gay Male Dating Profiles: Linguistic Expressions of Identity, Ethnicity, and Sexual Health

Presentation Type: Oral
Conference Stream: Intersections
Presenter: William Marron
Presentation Title: ‘Asian’ and ‘White’ Gay Male Dating Profiles: Linguistic Expressions of Identity, Ethnicity, and Sexual Health.
Room: Swan
Program schedule: Friday 14 August 2015 at 12:00
Duration: 30 mins


This presentation explores issues relating to members of the ‘Asian’ male homosexual community and their interaction with the broader, predominantly ‘Anglo/White’ homosexual community in Australia, through examination of linguistic and discursive features observed within 471 online dating profiles.

It is now estimated that 50% of homosexual men in Australia use the internet to make connections and ‘hook-ups’, and given the heterogeneous make up of this community, there exists many tension sites and contestations in how individuals negotiate and express intentions surrounding sexual identity, desire, relationships, and sexual health. Homosexual men identifying with an ‘Asian’ background, face additional intersectional challenges in locating oneself in allegiance to the values of their ‘Asian’ heritage and the values of the broader homosexual community. This crisis of fragmented identity can impact deeply on social and sexual health. It has been noted that the ‘Asian’ homosexual community has one of the highest incidences of HIV infection rates, at 17% of new infection rates as at July of 2014 (acon.org.au/chinesecampaign, 2014), and that this represents an increase in this demographic of some 66% since 2008 (The Kirby Institute, 2013).

As a potential ‘first point of contact’ for a majority of homosexual men, dating profiles, and the language used in them, warrant greater investigation and this current study seeks to situate analysis of issues confronting the homosexual community within this context. The analysis of the discursive features of dating profiles has presented some pertinent aspects and trends that may inform some of the challenges facing these demographic groups.

Presentation slides (PDF)