Drawing on semi-structured in-depth interviews with 15 Chinese queer international students from New Zealand’s tertiary institutions, this paper explores their motivations to pursue higher education transnationally, and unpacks the interconnected power structures underpinning their experiences. We find that despite the imagination and initial perception of New Zealand as one of the most queer-friendly higher education destinations, Chinese queer international students are confronted by the “ethnic closet” – a heteronormative power structure simultaneously disciplining racial/ethnic and sexual identities. The interplay between these two key aspects of students’ identity has meant that Chinese queer international students, as migrants who occupy disadvantaged positions in local racial power relations, frequently experience heteronormative microaggressions on campus; these students’ ethnic identity, which lies in the heart of their social support system, has also become a hindrance in their queer identity development. Our findings challenge the perceived dichotomy between China as homophobic and “the West” as queer-friendly, and reveal the need for a more nuanced understanding of queer international students’ experiences, in order to better support them in a higher education setting.


Creator | Kaihanga
Taylor Le Cui, Lin Song
Year of Creation | Tau
Keywords | Kupu
international student; queer; New Zealand; Chinese; ethnic closet; heteronormativity
Main Language | Reo Matua
Submitter's Rights | Nga Tika o te Kaituku
I am the author / creator of this resource
This Research has
been peer reviewed by academics at a university
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