Finding ways to watch LGBTQ+ content can be hard if you don’t know where to look. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a “gay Netflix”?

GagaOOLala’s tagline is “Find Your Story,” which speaks to the platform’s commitment to being a space that has a story for everyone. Image from GagaTai, GagaOOLala’s partner site for for gay news and LGBT film reviews and interviews.

Look no further, because we’re here to introduce you to GagaOOLala, the one and only Asian streaming platform for LGBTQ+ content from around the world. 

The site is based in Taiwan, the first place in Asia to achieve same-sex marriage, GagaOOLala is available worldwide for $6.99 a month. All films currently are equipped with English and Chinese subtitles, with other languages being added continuously.

Why makes GagaOOLala so special?

Despite the popular rise of BL, Asian LGBTQ+ content and representation can feel especially inaccessible in the West. In particular, heavy censoring of queer content in China complicates access. 

So for people who have always wanted to see themselves reflected in queer media, GagaOOLala is a godsend. CEO Jay Lin understands. 

In a conversation with Variety, Lin said, “Of course there are LGBT-focused services in Europe and the U.S., but they’re almost exclusively Western. There are very few Asian titles, and if there are, they’re more Asian American, or from a U.S.-centric or Western-centric point of view.” 

GagaOOLala is the first streaming service available globally with such a diverse range of uncensored Asian queer content.

CEO Jay Lin promoting GagaOOLala during Taipei Pride 2018. He is also founded Taiwan International Queer Film Festival. Image from GagaTai.

What can you watch on GagaOOLala?

GagaOOLala hosts an incredible variety of titles. From BL dramas and comedies, to social documentaries and coming-of-age shorts, to romcoms and fantasy movies. 

You can sort by category, region, and genre to find exactly what you want to watch. 

Here are a few of the Oscar-worthy gems you can't find anywhere else. 

1. Until Rainbow Dawn

Until Rainbow Dawn is an award-winning Japanese film based on the true story of an openly lesbian deaf director. It follows two deaf girls who meet each other through a sign language group.

When Hana falls in love with Ayumi, a girl she meets in her sign language group, she comes out to her parents who swiftly reject her. In an effort to cheer her up, Ayumi takes Hana to a deaf LGBTQ group in Tokyo. They both come to find self-acceptance. 
Unfortunately, mainstream media often overlooks the intersection of queerness and disability. So, Until Rainbow Dawn, a landmark film with a deaf cast and crew, showcases the beauty found within intersectionality.

2. Small Talk

Small Talk is a heart-wrenching documentary about queerness through the lens of generational gaps, that hits anyone who has struggled to connect with their parents deep in the gut.

 “My mother and I live in the same space. But we are like strangers. Our only exchange is the food she makes for me. No hellos, no goodbyes, and no 'I love you.'"

"I know beneath the deafening silence lies a secret that weighs heavily on her, keeping her from speaking; knowing that behind her tightly pursed lips is a shame so overbearing that it suffocates her."

"One day, I summon up the courage to sit her down and make her talk. But am I ready to hear what she has to say? Are we ready to face what’s been buried for so long?”
In Asian and immigrant families, queerness often feels unspeakable. This divide can add to the silence that stretches on between ourselves and the people we love. 

As a result, watching the tentative conversations in Small Talk is like watching the sky finally break open with light.

3. A Woman Is a Woman

A Woman Is a Woman is an award-winning Cantonese film that explores gender, transness, and love in Hong Kong through the portrait of a family. 

Sung Chi Yu has been happily married for 10 years but has kept a secret from her husband Chi Hung and step-daughter Lai Kei: she is a transwoman. Everything falls apart when her husband discovers this secret.

Meanwhile, Lai Kei develops a love towards her male classmate Chiu Ling Fung, who has been hiding his own battle with gender identity. In his teenage years he finds himself exploring the notion of love and identity with the help of an imaginary ideal feminine image named Rose. She springs from his heart and walks by his side through many hardships.

Both Sung Chi Yu and Chiu Ling Fung have to overcome the prejudice of others to find happiness in themselves.
Being transgender in China goes right up against a conservative and ignorant society that invalidates self-identification. Furthermore, trans people are invisible in China’s health care system, forcing many young people to seek unsafe gender-affirming surgery. 

Just as there are Chinese trans individuals and activists fighting for trans rights, visibility, and legal recognition, there are many closeted trans people torn between family and living authentically. 

Therefore, A Woman Is a Woman is beautiful and groundbreaking for centering a frank exploration of transness, making visible the invisible.  

Mr. C, left, and his lawyer, Huang Sha, at a court in Guiyang, Guizhou Province, on the day they filed a job discrimination case. The banner reads: “I want to work!” Photo by Wang Dasi for The New York Times.

This Pride Month and beyond, what will you watch on GagaOOLala?

For more recommendations, check out GagaOOLala’s compilation of LGBTQ+ shorts

“From the exploring of sexual orientation to a loving gaze that freezes time, these 10 exquisite flash stories from all around the world can be finished within the time of a single trip or a meal.” 

We hope that throughout this Pride Month and beyond, GagaOOLala helps you find a story that truly resonates. 

Shanghai Pride 2020. Image from The Conversation.


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Angelina Li

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