Six more installments soon rounded out the series, most of them surpassing one million views apiece.The success of “My Best Gay Friends” exemplifies how user-generated content is reaching unlikely audiences—sometimes producing unpredictable reactions.Mobile dating apps afford much the same anonymity chat rooms did decades ago, putting discreet sex within closer reach while mediating the social mechanics of physical encounters.For activists, social networks provide a different form of shelter.Huynh Nguyen Dang Khoa was a 21-year-old student in Ho Chi Minh City last year when he began filming “My Best Gay Friends,” with no budget to speak of.The comedic web series, which Khoa wrote, directed, and stars in alongside many of his actual friends, follows the trials and antics of typical cash-strapped, urban twenty-somethings who, for the most part, are variously lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.It depends on how they carry themselves.” Last year, the journalist Nguyen Qui Duc cautioned that personal “videos or expressions of alternative lifestyles only happen with a small segment of the population.
If social media appears to be increasing LGBT visibility in all of these areas, viewed differently, it could be promoting the reverse impulse, or others altogether.
Commercial exigencies are reshaping familiar Internet hubs, too.
Fridae.com, one of Asia’s most popular LGBT web portals, changed hands in 2011 after founder Stuart Koe’s exit amid clashes with the company’s board over its business strategy.
The country’s Court of Appeal agreed this month to hear together two challenges to the law that were dismissed individually earlier this year, which could lead to its repeal by 2014.
Similar rights initiatives are progressing in Thailand and Vietnam, where both governments took steps this year toward recognizing same-sex relationships.
Southeast Asia’s sizable and growing tourist economy makes more lavish overtures to LGBT consumers each year.