By John Decker

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This paper seeks to account for the absence of LGBT artists and themes in Chinese music. Using five interviews conducted by the author and sourcing previous studies and surveys, it primarily provides an overview of government policy and public opinion as it relates to homosexuality in contemporary China. Thereafter, the paper examines four LGBT musicians in China, and suggests that queer artists rely on two diametric approaches to music production: one of upfront disclosure, and a risk-adverse (and more popular) method of ambiguity or straight-performance. Furthermore, the paper argues that factors of censorship, government politicization of gay content, Confucian values, and low exposure to LGBT subjects all act in a mutually reinforcing and cyclical manner that results in low consumption of LGBT music in China. Ultimately, this cycle gives rise to a blanket silencing effect for most queer musicians and incentivizes artists to either adhere to straight-performance or avoid the industry all together.

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