Studying Chinese men’s sexualities is a vocational call for Dr. Travis S.K. Kong. He never shied away from the subject inside and outside of the classroom. At the University of Hong Kong, enrolment in his course on sex and intimacies has never dropped below the maximum quota of 120 with standing room only for those could not officially register.
A prominent sociologist in the area of Chinese sexualities, Dr. Kong’s first single-authored book, Chinese Male Homosexualities: Memba, Tongzhi and Golden Boy provides an account of 90 life stories of Chinese men living in Hong Kong, London and Mainland China – from the conspicuously consuming ‘memba’ in Hong Kong, the urban ‘tongzhi’ and the ‘money boy’ in China, to the feminised ‘golden boy’ in London. Associate Professor and Director of Media, Culture and Creative Cities at the Department of Sociology, Dr. Kong’s research specializes in Chinese homosexuality and masculinity, prostitution in Hong Kong and China, social impact of HIV/AIDS, and transnational Chinese sexuality. To date, his articles have appeared in books, encyclopedias and international journals.
But we are not only impressed with Travis being a sociologist. Actually, we have known him for a very long time. Hong Kong cultural arts community know him as a committed activist who has acted as consultant/advisor/board member of local NGOs concerning HIV/AIDS (e.g., China AIDS INFO, AIDS Concern, Chi Heng Foundation), media and culture (e.g., Videotage, Microwave), and sexuality (e.g., Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival). He might has been known as the most diligent scholar in his area, but his long time community involvement has been understated and behind-the-scenes. His recent publication with a Chinese book《男男正傳：香港年長男同志口述史》 ‘Oral History of Older Gay Men in Hong Kong’ has seen the culmination of both his academic work and community engagement. The book features twelve life stories of older gay men through colonial to contemporary times, and the difficulties and hardships they have encountered. A publication that resonates beyond academic circles, the lives of these older gay men taught us much to know about the invisibility of older LGBT generations in our local history.
For our jubilee year, the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival proudly salutes Dr. Travis S.K. Kong as the recipient of the Prism Award.