Richard Fung is a writer, educator and filmmaker perhaps best know for Looking For My Penis, his seminal paper on representations of gay Asian men in pornography. Fung's work is defined by its exploration of the outsider status of racial and sexual minorities, interrogating the prejudices that arise around the intersection of homophobia, colonialism and Orientalism in screen media and other modes of cultural discourse.
Over his 40 years of activism and observation in the LGBT community, Fung has seen change for the better, and change for the worse. Fung argues that whilst achievements like the move towards marriage equality have been hugely important, the shifting status of queer people from outsider status to assimilated entities (ie. consumers) has been at the expense of divergent sexuality and genders, and that we are now expected to be like everybody else, rather than being embraced for who we truly are. Does this benefit society and the individual, or does it simply create another mode of social control?
In 1984, Fung directed Orientations, a documentary profiling lesbian and gay Asians in Toronto. From relationships to cruising, cultural identity to racism, the film is a candid tell all of queer life in Canada on the cusp of the HIV/AIDS crisis that decimated the LGBT community. Thirty-two years later, he revisited the same people for Re:Orientations (2016), and finds a world that has changed. He speaks to CINEMQ about how the LGBTQ movement has evolved, and the directions it may be heading.
Words: CINEMQ Editors
Translation: Will Dai
CINEMQ is a queer short film screening + party series. It is run by a group of queers with too much on their mind to sit still for long. We’re publishing articles on queer cinema and screen culture every week. Want to contribute? Message our account.