GagaOOLala, Asia’s first LGBTQ+ streaming service, is now available globally.
Founded in 2016 in Taiwan, the service features a full catalog of LGBTQ+ feature films, series, and short films from countries across Asia, including Japan, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Thailand. The service launched globally in May 2020 — on the one-year anniversary of Taiwan becoming the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. To celebrate the occasion, the platform is debuting a documentary, “Taiwan Equals Love,” that follows the island’s path toward marriage equality.
Portico Media, the company behind GagaOOLala, also helped co-found the Taiwan International Queer Film Festival, once the biggest queer film festival in Asia. That work helped inspire them to create a new streaming service to increase access to queer content even more.
“There was a lack of LGBTQ+ content available all year round in Taiwan and the rest of Asia,” Jay Lin, CEO of Portico Media, said in a press release. “A physical film festival happening during a few days was not the solution, we needed something 24/7.”
Global users can subscribe to GagaOOLala for $6.99 per month. All of the titles are available with English or Chinese subtitles. GagaOOLala has also produced original content over the past four years — one original film, “The Teacher,” even won an award at Taiwan’s Oscars.
With so many queer and trans people stuck in unsafe homes during the pandemic, digital access to LGBTQ+ stories is perhaps more important than ever. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are delivering an unprecedented amoutn of queer content, but queer Asians remain an underrepresented demographic. And with homophobia still rampant in certain Asian countries, GagaOOLala is filling an important need for countless people, both in Asia and around the world.
“The situation in many Asian countries is still dire, in some of them homosexuality is still considered a crime,” Lin said. “We needed to provide easier access to LGBTQ+ stories to let them know they are not alone.”