Queered online pandemic relationships: Mobile expressions of intimacies, care, and emotion work

Drawing from the assumptions on queer and mobile intimacy, emotion work, and care, this paper explores the role of mobile communication platform access and use among Filipino gay couples who have been physically separated because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper looks at in-depth narratives of 24 gay men whose romances have been transferred to and transformed by messaging apps due to the pandemic. The accounts of these gay couples represent the realities of cosmopolitan gay men in negotiating digital romantic presence as they manage connection despite the distance. Mobile technologies have deepened the synchronous and asynchronous rituals of maneuvering romance as couples manage imagined emphatic romances. The participants’ descriptions revealed queered technology-use in bridging and maintaining imagined intimacies while feeling trapped in the dependence on mediated means of enacting such intimacies.