Queering consumption: The discursive construction of sexual identity among gay fashion consumers in Hong Kong

Eric P.H. Li, Maffeo Ennead Chow, Wing Sun Liu, Magnum Man Lok Lam, Ajnesh Prasad

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The purpose of this study is to investigate how sexual identity is constructed among gay fashion consumers in Hong Kong through myriad consumption practices. We employed ethnographic research methods and conducted thir-teen in-depth interviews with gay male consumers in Hong Kong to examine the relationship between identity and lifestyle consumption, as well as symbolic consumption and tribal behaviour, within a ‘gay’ community. The findings captured four stages of gay consumers’ identity construction, which began with (1) negotiating one’s sexual identity and changing their perception of gay identity, (2) tremendous identity change, (3) consumption behaviour change and eventu-ally (4) full acceptance of one’s sexual identity. The construction and the expression of sexual identity among gay men in Hong Kong were found to be associated with Confucian-oriented social structures and various marketplace ideologies. This study contributes to the existing discussion of gay consumption literatures by offering a non-western context where the discursive construction of sexual identity – and the negotiations involved in its representation – reflects the multi-tude of tensions between Chinese culture, on the one hand, and ideas of modernity and cosmopolitanism, on the other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-192
Number of pages26
JournalFashion, Style and Popular Culture
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • consumer identity
  • ethnography
  • fashion consumption
  • gay consumption
  • Hong Kong
  • queer theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


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