A Transmedia ‘Third’ Space: The Counterculture of Chinese Boys’ Love Audio Dramas

Tingting Hu, Jing Jin*, Lin Liao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Drawing on the notions of transmedia storytelling and engagement, this study investigates how practitioners engage with the process of producing and consuming boys’ love (BL) audio dramas, the trans-directional communication and interaction between producers and consumers in the transmedia BL subcultural space, and the implications of their engagement for counterculture. We contribute to the growing field of BL studies by providing insights into how practitioners can stimulate these cultural productions as a part of gender–sexuality-related counterculture in the new media space of audio dramas. We argue that the engagement of BL audio drama producers and consumers (‘prosumers’) features the sense of countering the predominant heteronormativity in China by producing explicit homosexual romance, actively expanding the story elements transmedially, and bringing queer members into the BL audio drama community. In this way, built by both producers and consumers together, the BL audio drama community is no longer a female-only area, but becomes a more inclusive ‘third’ space constituted by people with diverse sexual identities and orientations. Given its knowledge, perspectives, and experiences, the BL audio drama community, as a countercultural group, has a certain potential to bridge the divide between the female-led BL subculture and the larger queer community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)836-854
Number of pages19
JournalAsian Studies Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • audio dramas
  • Boys’ love (BL)
  • China
  • countercultures
  • engagement
  • female
  • subcultures
  • third spaces
  • transmedia storytelling


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