[hashtag whynohomo project] As of February 5, 2019 on Instagram, 1,356,059 posts are found with the hashtag nohomo and 112,984 posts with the hashtag notgay. Conflicting emotions arose while I looked through the numerous posts with the above mentioned hashtags. At first, I felt upset about their inconsiderate behavior making fun of “gayness,” “fragility,” and “unmasculine acts.” I might have been jealous, perhaps sarcastically, because they looked extremely confident. It looked as if they felt no shame about using hashtags that expressed homophobia and publically reinforcing the stereotypical gay image, whether intentionally or not. Did they realize the effects of this reinforcement? On the other hand, I sincerely wanted to understand them. Do they doubt their masculinity? Are they able to achieve “masculinity” by rejecting homosexual relationships? Does the act of labeling themselves with the hashtag nohomo validate their heterosexuality? By performing these social codes, were they exploring or experimenting their identities? Were their intentions on aiming to offend gay people? If not, what is under their consciousness? How are these acts manipulated under social constructs? What kind of situations are they in?

The most uncomfortable moment is when people joke about something and you are the only one who cannot laugh, because the joke is actually about you. Sometimes, “jokes” aren’t enough to justify the weight of certain actions.

Conversations, two channel video installation, 17:23, 2019

In Conversations (2019), people using the hashtag nohomo were asked the questions: “what does #nohomo mean to you?” or “why did you use #nohomo on this post?” If they respond, the conversation was initiated. I was curious to see what they would say or how they would react if I tell them I am a gay man and was actually offended by their use of #nohomo. Some were upset and argued, some heard me out, some apologized, and one even offered encouragement. Further conversations lead to questions as such: What is the boundary between friendship and love among men? How should I react to these jokes as a gay man? Am I too serious? How can we communicate amidst of our differences?

, found image, text on mirror, cardboard, 2018 ~ ongoing

mailto:male is an ongoing project on the Instagram account @mail2male. So far, nine exaggerated homo-romantic fictional narratives were created as rereadings of found images on Instagram posts under the hashtag nohomo. The fictional narratives were based on a combination of my personal experiences and information embedded in the above-mentioned found posts. These information include everything from context of the image posted, the tagged location, to comments and other hashtags.

installation view

photo courtesy by Lillian Yang