Author Archives: Yifeng Troy Cai

Yifeng Troy Cai got his PhD in Anthropology and MPH from Brown University. His research expertise includes digital anthropology, medical anthropology, and queer theory, with a geographic focus on China.
A window-side table with an omelette, fruit, and coffee served on top. The water and city skyline are visible in the window.

Becoming a Socialite: How Virtual “Fakeness” Produces Material Realities among Urban Chinese Gay Men

On Chinese gay dating apps, “fake profiles” are a constant concern: photos might have been altered or biometrics might have been fabricated. Offline, the person might barely resemble their profile. The lived experiences of Chinese gay men, however, show us that the fake is not always antithetical to the real. The fake, under certain circumstances, could enact material realities of its own. Gay socialites (同志名媛, tongzhi mingyuan) in urban China’s gay community are cases in point. (read more...)