An Updated Look at My Research Plans for 2021

Yin (left) and War (right) have emerged as some of the hottest BL idols in Thailand after starring in En of Love: Love Mechanics in 2020.

At the end of 2020, in the final day in my office, I wrote a post outlining my research goals for 2021. I thought that since it’s been roughly half a year, it would be a good idea to reflect on and share some of my current plans for research in 2021 as well as where I’d like to go in 2022. After reading my old post, I can say that my plans have significantly changed, partly due to flare ups in COVID-19 that have restricted my ability to travel yet again and partly because some new opportunities arose.

1. Thai Boys Love Book and BL Advertising Article

I think I can start with good news! I have made great strides towards completing both my second book and the article exploring the impacts of Thai BL celebrity on advertising culture. I have had the privilege to collaborate with a number of Thai academics working in similar fields and this has led to an explosion of outputs which will steadily trickle out over 2022-2023. An opportunity arose which I can’t yet share publicly but that pushed me to complete 3/4 of my book manuscript and to send off the proposal to an academic press. The process of finalising this proposal was really useful to consolidating my thinking on this topic and I share the proposal summary below for those curious about the direction my work on Thai BL is taking.


2. Responding to Misogynistic Interpretations of BL in the Philippines

This project has been simmering away quietly as my colleague Dr Kristine Santos and I continue to workshop our ideas concerning the reception of BL in the Philippines. As part of my contribution to this project, I have expanded my research into the impacts of inter-Asian queer media fandom on the Philippines to chart and explore the rise of Pinoy BL dramas that occurred throughout 2020. Another opportunity which I cannot yet publicly share has emerged as a result of this new aspect to this project, which I am excited about. It all stems from an interaction between myself and the production company for landmark Pinoy BL series Gameboys on Twitter! Kristine and I will draft our paper in the second half of 2021.


3. NEW PROJECT: Comparing “soft stans” and “hard stans” of K-pop and Thai BL idol shipping

Many people who read my work and watch my recorded lectures are probably well aware that one of my recent research focusses is the phenomenon of “idol shipping,” particularly among queer fans of K-pop music. I have begun exploring content such as deepfake pornography and pornographic manipulation among queer fans online due to my growing concerns over this kind of fan production. Since the beginning of 2021, I have been conducting a virtual ethnography of both “hard stans” and “soft stans” of K-pop who live in the Asia-Pacific and identify as queer to tease apart the growing conflicts over whether or not it is appropriate to consume K-pop in a highly sexual way. I am looking forward to presenting the results of this workshop at the upcoming Queer Cultures in Digital Asia symposium to be hosted this December at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Here’s an image which evokes the “soft stan” idol shipping aesthetic. I’d love to share an evocative image for “hard stans” from this project but they are all extremely NSFW!


On the Backburner

Due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, I am having to hit pause on a few of the projects that I have been working on with the hope that things will be better in 2022. These projects include:

  • my ethnographic study of the impacts of Japanese queer popular culture in Australia and the Philippines
  • my ethnographic study of queer K-pop fans in Australia
  • my small project exploring the intersections of K-pop fandom and young adult literature

My First Book

A lot of my time in the first half of 2021 has been spent proofing, indexing and preparing my first book, which is scheduled for release in November 2021. I will be creating a new page on my website dedicated to the book shortly, but the publisher has information here. Watch this space!

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