It is pretty much a topic that had me scratching my head or even questioning myself – what exactly is the difference between a Gay and a BL series? And what is a Bromance, if nothing but the show of affection between men? Well, it seems it’s not as simple as that, or is it? Let’s get into the nitty-gritty, shall we?

Bromance is non-sexual, there may be a kiss but the affection is more “brotherly” rather than a full-blown love affair. BL (Boys Love or Yaoi) is a relationship between 2 men from a female perspective, can be sexual or brotherly. Gay showcases the relationship between men and can have a more serious tone amongst the three – while not totally encompassing.

  • Bromance has a Western origin and was coined in the 1990s, while BL is Yaoi and originated in Japan. Gay, obviously, has existed long before both. Says the Wiki: “A bromance is a close but non-sexual relationship between two or more men. It is an exceptionally tight, affectionate, homosocial male bonding relationship exceeding that of usual friendship, and is distinguished by a particularly high level of emotional intimacy.”
  • Dave Carnie is credited with coining the term ‘bromance’ as editor of the skateboard magazine Big Brother in the 1990s to refer specifically to the sort of relationships that develop between skaters who spent a great deal of time together. The term did not attain broad currency until approximately 2005 when the theme became more prominent in Hollywood;
My Bromance – both movie (shown here) and the succeeding series appear to be a misnomer because it exceeds the standard bromantic tone.
  • Boys Love has undergone a significant change in recent years by diluting highly-charged Yaoi-centric thems of rape, incest, and other taboo subjects from series’ plotlines to those being essentially more “romantic.”  This transition is mainly due to the growing number of gay male audience members and the greater acceptance to the inclusion of romantic themes by the larger teen-to-adult female fanbase. The historical influence of the original Yaoi movement seems to be waning.
  • Gay author/novelist and Neurologist Dr. Patrick Rangsimant is one of the estimated only 1 to 5% of authors within BL who are male. While not adhering to the standard BL themes, his novels are more about love and life experiences rather than about gender. However, gay sexuality in particular, is treated in a very realistic tone. Below is an excerpt from our interview with the author.

“As you know there are a lot of BL novels in the Thai book market, most of them tell the same story about young boys, college love, especially in engineering school. For me, those stories are cliché, I don’t mean that as an accusation to the writers, it’s just the matter of fact.
One day while I wandered through the aisles of books in Kinokuniya bookstore, I questioned myself ‘Is there a book that tells the love story of the mature gay guy?’ I mean a real gay guy, not a fancy gay guy from a girl’s imagination? I had to spend more than 2 hours in Kinokuniya looking for it. The answer is NONE. So what’s next? I went home and started writing a novel.” |Read Full Interview|


  • The medium (YouTube, LINE) is strictly regulated, so there is either self-regulation or censorship or a compromise in-between. Gay films have a more serious tone, dark and tragic even. Yet there are also gay musicals, fantasy, romance;
  • May 1st, 2020 is the global launch of GagaOOLala, a gay streaming service that offers plenty of gay movies and series, with an Asian tone. The available playlist has Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Thai, Vietnamese movies – new and from different generations.

Cover photo from the Korean film Going South, directed by Leesong Hee-il. Exclusively on GagaOOLala.

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