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Travis Kong

Dr Travis Shiu Ki Kong

Associate Professor

+852 3917 2055

9.17, 9/F., The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus


I received my PhD in sociology from the University of Essex with a specialization in identity, sexuality and masculinity. I commit myself as a sociologist who critically engage with contemporary Western theories in understanding notions of identity, masculinity, the body and intimacy in modern Chinese communities in the context of global cultures and seek dialogues across disciplines in understanding human sexualities. I see my work as part of the newly emerging Asian queer studies, which seeks to understand the complex process of Western, local and inter-regional knowledge systems in shaping experiences, identities and desires in specific sites in Asia. My research has a strong component of knowledge exchange and is action-oriented.

I mainly teach sexuality, queer theory, media and cultural studies. My research specializes in Chinese homosexuality and masculinity, commercial sex in Hong Kong and China, social impacts of HIV/AIDS, and transnational Chinese sexuality.


Sociology of homosexuality

My first single-authored book, Chinese Male Homosexualities: Memba, Tongzhi  and Golden Boy, investigates Chinese gay identity, desire and masculinity under the thesis of sexual citizenship in contemporary Chinese societies, and within global culture. Through 90 life stories of Chinese men interviewed in Hong Kong, London and Mainland China (major sites: Guangdong, Shanghai and Beijing) and extensive ethnographic fieldtrips over ten years, this book rejects global homogenization and local essentialism and proposes a new paradigm of queer hybridization in theorizing Chinese sexual identities, desires and practices in a transnational scale. It conjoins Queer Asian Studies to set a new agenda to understand sexuality in non-western contexts.

Recently, I have published work on ageing gay sexuality which addresses the missing gap between sexuality and aging literatures by studying ‘generational sexualities’ under the colonial and post-colonial Hong Kong. Based on my academic research on gay sexuality, I was awarded a Knowledge Exchange Impact Project in 2013 which aimed to document stories of older (60+) gay men living in Hong Kong in order to raise public awareness of their unspoken needs and problems to the general public and service providers. In 2014, I published《男男正傳︰香港年長男同志口述史》(Oral History of Older Gay Men in Hong Kong) which tells the stories of twelve such men by mixing academic analysis with autobiographies. This project also enabled me to invite four artists who took photographs of the men’s current lives. I have held a series of book talk and photo exhibition in Hong Kong, Macau, Guangdong and London. This academic research was turned into participatory action research with an impact on the community through helping the participants and others set up a self-help group (晩同牽, Gay & Grey) in 2014.


Sociology of sex work

My initial research in this area examined the lived experiences of female sex workers in Hong Kong but later shifted to male sex workers first in Hong Kong and later in mainland China. My focus has been to contextualize the lived experiences of male sex workers (or ‘money boys’) within the broader social economic transitions in contemporary China. My recent research on this area touches upon clients of commercial sex, ranging from the complicated client-worker relationship, the intersection between intimacy and commerce, the idea of masculinity, the sexual stigma, and, ultimately, on the nature of human sexuality.



I have become the Editor (together with Feona Attwood and Roisin Ryan-Flood, 2012-) of Sexualities: Studies in Culture and Society, the leading journal of human sexualities using multi-disciplinary, theoretical-driven, and research-based qualitative approaches within a global framework. Established since 1998, Sexualities presents cutting edge debates on both the empirical nature of contemporary sexualities and theoretical/critical analysis of them. My unique contribution is to promote research publications and dialogues that go beyond the UK-North America-Australasia intellectual region.


Selected administrative posts

I am the Programme Director of a newly launched MSocSc programme in Media, Culture and Creative Cities. The programme has been successful and distinctive from other local programmes because of our multidisciplinary approach in understanding media and culture as well as our excellent connection with the community through our capstone project.

I am the Director of MC3@702 Creative Space. It is the first of its kind to combine teaching and learning in a multi-media format in the department and faculty levels, the space goes beyond the conventional boundaries of teaching and learning as well as research by underscoring interactions and exchanges among researchers, public intellectuals, cultural practitioners, students, and the general public. Since its establishment in 2013, we have held 15 exhibitions and have attracted almost 7000 visitors with wide media coverage.

I am Associate Dean (Undergraduate Education) of the Faculty of Social Sciences.


Courses taught


University of Essex (UK)

Research interests

Gender and sexuality studies
Cultural and media studies
Contemporary social theory
Qualitative research methods

Current research

Chinese homosexuality and masculinity
Prostitution in Hong Kong and China
Social impacts of HIV/AIDS
Transnational Chinese sexuality

Honours and recognitions

Social Sciences Knowledge Exchange Award, HKU (2015)

Prism Award, Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (2014)

HKU-Kings Fellowship (2013-2014)

Impact Project (Knowledge Exchange), HKU, 2013–2014

Social Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award, HKU (2013)


Selected publications

(forthcoming) ‘Sexual Cultures in Asia’, in George Ritzer (ed.) The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology (new edition). London: Blackwell (co-authored with Lau Hoi Leung and Li Cheuk Yin).

2016. “Sex and Work on the Move: Money Boys in Post-Socialist China”, Urban Studies, published online first 13 July 2016. DOI: 10.1177/0042098016658411

2016. “The Sexual in Chinese Sociology: Homosexuality Studies in Contemporary China”, Sociological Review, published online first 4 April 2016. DOI: 10.1111/1467-954X.12372

2015. “The Fourth Wave? A Critical Reflection on Tongzhi Movement in Hong Kong”. In Mark McLelland and Vera Mackie (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Sexuality Studies in East Asia. London and New York: Routledge. (co-authored with Lau Hoi Leung and Li Cheuk Yin)

2015. “Buying Sex as Edgework: Hong Kong Male Clients in Commercial Sex”. British Journal of Criminology, published online: 25 May.

2015. “Romancing the Boundary: Client Masculinities in the Chinese Sex Industry.” Culture, Health and Sexuality, published online: 20 February.

(2014) 。《男男正傳︰香港年長男同志口述史》。香港:進一步多媒體有限公司。[Oral History of Older Gay Men in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Stepforward Multimedia (in Chinese)]

2014. “Male Sex Work in China”. In Victor Minichiello and John Scott (eds.) Male Sex Work and Society. New York: Harrington Press.

2012. “Fading Queer Heterotopia: Hong Kong Older Gay Men’s Queer Use of SpacesSexualities, 15 (8): 896-916.

2012. “Men Who have Sex with Men: Stigma and Discrimination” The Lancet 2012 Special Theme Series: Men who Have Sex with Men and HIV 380: 439-445. (co-authored with Dennis Altman, Peter Aggleton, Michael Williams, Vasu Reddy, David Harrad, Toni Reis, and Richard Parker)

2012. “Reinventing the Self under Socialism: The Case of Migrant Male Sex Workers in China.” Critical Asian Studies 44 (2): 283-308.

2012. “Sex Entrepreneurs in the New China”. Contexts 11 (3): 28-33. (PDF)

2012 “Chinese Male Bodies: A Transnational Study of Masculinity and Sexuality.” In B. Turner (ed.) The Routledge International Handbook of Body Studies. London: Routledge. Pp. 289-306.

2012. “Relationship Type, Condom Use and HIV/AIDS Risks among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Six Chinese Cities”. AIDS Care24 (4): 517-528 (co-authored with K.J. Laidler and Herbert. Pang)

2011.“Transnational Queer Labour: The “Circuits of Desire” of Money boys in China”. English Language Notes, 49 (1): 139-144.

2011. Chinese Male Homosexualities: Memba, Tongzhi and Golden Boy. London: Routledge.

2010.“Outcast Bodies: Money, Sex and Desire of Money Boys in Mainland China”. In Yau Ching (ed.) As Normal As Possible: Negotiating Sexuality and Gender in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Pp. 17-35.

2009.“More than a Sex Machine: Accomplishing Masculinity among Chinese Male Sex Workers in the Hong Kong Sex Industry”. Deviant Behavior, 30 (Nov): 715-745. (PDF)

2009.“Where is My Brokeback Mountain?Social Transformations in Chinese Societies (Special Issue: Doing Families in Hong Kong), 4: 135-59.

2008.“Risk Factors Affecting Condom Use among Male Sex Workers Who Serve Men in China: A Qualitative Study”. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 84: 444-8.

2007.“To Determine Factors in an Initiation of a Same-sex Relationship in Rural China: Using Ethnographic Decision Model”. AIDS Care, 19 (7): 850-857. (co-authored with William C.W. Wong).

2006. “What It Feels Like for a Whore: The Body Politics of Women Performing Erotic Labour in Hong Kong.Gender, Work and Organization, 13 (5): 409-434.

2006. “The HIV-related Risks among Men Having Sex with Men in Rural Yunnan, China: A Qualitative study.Sexually Transmitted Infections. 82: 127-130. (co-authored with W.C.W. Wong, J.B. Zhang, S.C. Wu, and D.C.Y. Ling)

2006. “Asian Sexual Cultures.” In G. Ritzer (ed.) Encyclopedia of Sociology. London: Blackwell. Pp. 4213-4218.

2006. “Sexualizing Asian Male Bodies.” In Steven Seidman, Nancy Fischer, and Chet Meeks (eds.) Introducing The New Sexuality Studies. New York: Routledge. Pp. 90-95.

2006. Multiple entries [22] in David Gerstner (ed.) Queer Culture: The Routledge Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Contemporary International Culture. New York and London: Routledge.

2005. “Queering Masculinity in Hong Kong Movies.” In Pang Lai-kwan and Day Wong (eds.) Masculinities and Hong Kong Cinema. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Pp. 57-80.

2005. Rethinking and Recasting Citizenship: Social Exclusion and Marginality in Chinese Societies. Hong Kong: Centre for Social Policy Studies, Department of Applied Social Sciences, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. (co-edited with May Tam, Ku Hu-bin)

2005. “The Hidden Voice: The Sexual Politics of Hong Kong Male Sex Workers”. Hong Kong: Centre for Social Policy Studies, Department of Applied Social Sciences, the Hong KongPolytechnicUniversity.

2004. “Queer at Your Own Risk: Marginality, Community, and the Body Politics of Hong Kong Gay Men.” Sexualities, 7 (1): 5-30.

2003. “A Research Report on the Working Experiences of Hong Kong’s Female Sex Workers”. Hong Kong: Centre for Social Policy Studies, Department of Applied Social Sciences, the Hong KongPolytechnicUniversity and Zi Teng. (co-authored with Zi Teng)

2002. “Queering the Interview.” In Jaber F. Gubrium and James A. Holstein (eds.) Handbook of Interview Research: Context & Method. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Pp. 239-258. (co-authored with Plummer, K., and Mahoney, D.)

2002. “The Seduction of the Golden Boy: The Body Politics of Hong Kong Gay Men.” Body & Society, 8 (1): 29-48.