BL is taking an interesting turn and it’s not happening on the shelves of Ikebukuro but on television broadcasts and streams in Thailand. Thai BL has become a hot topic in recent years and as someone invested in boys love culture, the world of boys love in Thailand has definitely piqued my curiosity. My enabler for this is none other than Dr. Thomas Baudinette who has watched every Thai BL ever released and was more than happy to give me the lowdown on Thai BL.
As mentioned in the podcast, Thomas was one of the first anthropologists who has written on Thai BL in English. He has an article that explores the early years of the phenomenon as seen through Lovesick and he has also mentioned in the podcast that he’s currently developing a book on Thai BL. Recently, he also gave a online talk on Thai BL which is definitely something worth listening to as well. His work on Thai BL has led to articles on Asahi Japan that talks about the explosion of Thai BL in the region, his recommended shows, and the new queer practices emerging from this new Thai BL Idol culture.
The show also mentioned a chapter written by Dredge Kang who touches a bit on this culture in his chapter for BL Opening Doors (Japanese only). For those of you who are able to read Japanese, I strongly recommend this book so that you may see the transformation of the genre in the region.
Over the years, I’ve seen Tom’s research grow and I’m fascinated by its connection with the Philippines. In this podcast, we also discussed why Filipino fans are at the centre of Thai BL, the politics of its consumption, and its engagement with our local BL community. After the recording of this podcast, the local publisher for original BL, Black Ink, tangentially touches on Thai BL as they discuss this genre with one of our renowned gay writers, Danton Remoto.
What is clear from this podcast is that BL is changing its shape and it’s no longer centred in Japan alone. Thailand is writing its own chapter and so is China with danmei. The Philippines is thinking of creating their own BL too.
Certainly, BL as we know it is changing. Isn’t it a fun time to be a BL fan?
Fujojocast #13: A Thai BL Primer with Thomas Baudinette
OP Music: Kan Gu, 2gether’s Theme Song