Not Your “Emerald Girl”: In Defense of Tongqi Victimization Discourse


  • Jiahui Zhu Stanford Undergraduate Student


queer kinship, queer relationships, mixed-orientation marriage, China, tongqi, literary analysis, feminism


In studying queerness and queer relationships, gender and sexuality scholars have long attempted to expand the definition of kinship beyond the heteronormative, nuclear family centered mold. Some of these attempts have focused on the “queering” of intimate relationships, which often involves celebrating opaqueness and rejecting normative definitions of “legitimate” intimacy. This approach stands in stark contrast to mainstream and feminist discourses in contemporary mainland China which universally criticize the practice of “marriage fraud” – gay men marrying unsuspecting heterosexual women (tongqi). By analyzing a romanticized example of opaque kinship depicted by author Yiyun Li in her short story Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, this paper problematizes the ideal vision of “queer kinship” presented by scholars and defends the victimization narrative advanced by millions of Chinese tongqi.