As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grasp the globe and the thought of leaving the house is one followed by shame and guilt – it’s really easy to get bloody bored.
However, if you’ve already scoured the edges of your favourite streaming services, you’re most likely now in desperate need of content. Don’t worry, we have just the thing for you.
Asia’s first LGBTQI focussed video-streaming service, aptly named ‘GagaOOLala’, has all manner of queer and curious content that’s just to become the new Netflix in your home.
Since initially launching in 2017 in Taiwan, the epicentre for Asia’s gay culture, GagaOOLala now brings more than 1,000 feature films, shorts, web series and documentaries to people across Asia and the world.
Despite expanding to 21 Asian territories, Asia’s strict censorship of content, as well as its traditional attitudes, means that there is still very little LGBTQI content available in the mainstream media.
However, GagaOOLala Founder and LGBTQI activist, Jay Lin, told Variety that since Taiwan’s legalisation of same-sex marriage last year, a record-breaking number of LGBTQI-themed films would receive a theatrical release in Taiwan.
As well as a business mogul, Lin is raising two twin boys alongside his partner in Taipei, the Capital if Taiwan.
46-year-old Lin said that same-sex marriage: “allowed us to open that door a little bit wider when persuading sponsors, platforms or government to seeing [LGBT representation] as something that’s beneficial for them as well,”
“And it makes it easier for us to find production and distribution partners outside of Taiwan.”
The Lady Gaga descended streaming service now has over 280,000 members and even services countries where homosexuality is still illegal, such as Brunei and Singapore and Malaysia.
In Singapore and Malaysia specifically, women and men have been caned under Islamic laws for homosexuality.
Brunei also attempted to introduce the death penalty by stoning for gay sex in 2019 as part of a new Sharia-law penal code, but later backpedalled following international criticism.
GagaOOlala is mainly popular with LGBTQI people, as well as straight women, and as a result, has been heralded as a major playing card in the fight for equal rights and equal representation across Asia.
While GagaOOLala originally featured a mostly Western content, it steadily branched out into original Asian LGBTQI film and television with the help of its development arm, GOL Studios.
Lin noted in an interview with The Japan Times that the decision to create GagaOOLala, as well as the move to Asian-centred LGBTQI content, was to showcase Asia’s hidden LGBTQI experiences.
“One of the main impetuses for me to create GagaOOlala, (is) to kind of dispel a lot of the myths and misconceptions that a lot of people might have about LGBT people,” he said
“We’re not all living really tragic lives — we’re entrepreneurs, we’re fathers.”
“As we have developed […] we have realised that actually a lot of Asians also want to see Asian faces, and watch Asian stories and watch films take place in places or cities that they’re familiar with.”
While GagaOOLala has not run into any regulatory hurdles yet, advertising and promotion for the service must still be kept under tight wraps in countries where homosexuality is criminalised.
As a result, closed chat groups, social media and LGBTQI influencers are commonly used for advertising the platform instead of through more traditional media methods.
However, business is booming as GOL Studios is now helping more LGBTQI filmmakers secure talent, funding and distribution measures.
As a result, GagaOOLala has now made its first LGBTQI Thai film, its first Japanese lesbian feature film and has even branched to Europe with a Germany-Spain co-production.
Other hot streaming items include a misty romance set in a gay spa and a rom-com about a lesbian flight attendant. It’s something new to help past the time, especially if masturbation has become as old for you, as it has for us.
You can find out more about GagaOOLala here, which is currently offering a selection of free content, as well as a monthly VIP membership for unlimited access.