The dissertation examines how the affect, memory and trauma of socialism have informed queer life and LGBT activism. Queer sexuality in China is often articulated through a teleological narrative of transition predicated on the dichotomy of socialist oppression vis-à-vis post-socialist liberation. It depicts queer subject as victim par excellence of state violence and pre- or anti-modern traditions, and renders queer practices as radical and embodying notions of progress to transform China from a backward socialist totalitarian “other” to a democratic neoliberal world power. Such making of “Queer China,” I argue, is ironically complicit with Cold War formation and its ongoing impacts on today’s neoliberal gay normalization. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including historical documents, oral histories, cultural productions and ethnographic research, the dissertation unpacks multifaceted impacts of socialist history, memory, trauma, and geopolitical struggles on shaping queerness in order to reframe dominant Cold War culture in the studies of transnational sexualities and to rebuild a radical queer politics freed of commercialism, middle-class assimilation and imperialism under the name of queer liberation. The dissertation reevaluates notions of sexual repression, state violence, progress, visibility and agency to shed light on theoretical and methodological debates on ethnocentrism, othering and normalization. The dissertation argues that a critical engagement with queer geopolitics and situated knowledge from the temporal, regional, ideological and epistemological margins can contribute to the provincialization of “Western” sexualities and decolonization of queer studies derived from US-inflicted modes of sexuality and a Western-based system of modernity.