China’s queer subtitle army

Queer as Folk
China (Beijing)

同志亦凡人中文站 (Queer as Folk) is the most reliable source for queer media on the Chinese internet and go-to place for LGBTIQ content in China. 

 

Most foreign films are blocked from being screened in China, so many Chinese cinephiles turn to the internet for pirated copies. After decades of hiding underground, China’s queer community relies on a small group of volunteers to bring them the movies the government doesn’t want them to watch.

While it has never advertised, Queer as Folk is a place to access foreign queer media and a hub of exchange and support in a country where LGBTIQ people are still often discriminated against. 

International nonprofit journalism organisation Rest of World spoke to some of the subtitlers and people behind the scene in Chinadocumenting what happens when technology, culture and the human experience collide.

Resembling a cross between Reddit and an early internet chatroom, QAF is a volunteer group that was born out of the “fan subbing” movement, but the site almost exclusively featured translations of LGBTIQ-themed movies and TV shows. It started out in 2004 as a message board for Chinese fans of the hit American-Canadian show Queer as Folk and grew into a forum for LGBTIQ cinema resources. Four years after its launch, the site pivoted to subtitling. 

As queer people are very rarely represented in mainstream Chinese media, QAF has shown a generation of LGBTIQ people what life can be like in other societies and taught them how to fight for their own right to representation. 

Since 2008, teams of volunteers have translated more than 1,000 movies and TV series for QAF, ranging from major English-language studio productions to short films in Hebrew and Vietnamese. Today, the site has over 700,000 registered users, 60,000 followers on its public WeChat account and about 1,000 active daily users.

queer as folk

AtlasAction: Read this piece in full and an interview on Rest of World.

Submitted by

Lisa Goldapple, Editor-in-Chief, Atlas of the Future

Written by

Adapted from a piece by Zeyi Yang and Meaghan Tobin for Rest of World (29 January 2021)

Bio

Rest of World is an international nonprofit journalism organisation documenting what happens when technology, culture and the human experience collide, in places that are typically overlooked and underestimated.

Project leader

Anonymous volunteers

Partners

This project has been selected as part of CultureFutures, a storytelling project that maps creative and cultural projects with a social mission – and the artists, collectives and entrepreneurs behind them.Atlas of the Future is excited to join forces with Goldsmiths Institute of Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship and the British Council Creative Economy.

Support the Atlas

We want the Atlas of the Future media platform and our event to be available to everybody, everywhere for free – always. Fancy helping us spread stories of hope and optimism to create a better tomorrow? For those able, we'd be grateful for any donation.

Creative Commons License

Comments

 

Take me somewhere
Close
Take me somewhere
Close
Data Protection Act: LOPD.
In compliance with Organic Law 15/1999, of 13 of December, on Personal Data Protection, and the development of Rules of Procedure, approved by Royal Decree 1720/2007, of 21 of December, Atlas of the Future subscribers may be required to provide Personal Data, which will be included in a file owned by Democratising The Future Society SL. Such file is duly incorporated in the Spanish Data Protection Agency and protected in compliance with the security measures established in the applicable legislation.Subscribers may exercise, at any time, their rights of access, rectification, cancellation and/or opposition regarding their Personal Data. The subscriber shall notice their will, either under written form addressed to Democratising The Future Society SL, Ref. LOPD, Calabria, 10 6-3 08015 - Barcelona (Spain) and/or by e-mail, clicking here. Also, the subscriber shall communicate Atlas of the Future any modifications of their Personal Data stored, so that the information stored by Atlas of the Future remains at all times updated and error-free.
Close
Sign up for our weekly newsletter