A Milestone Along Our Path Together- Happy One Year Anniversary

IT’S BEEN A YEAR!!!

Yes, it’s been a year since I started on this phenomenal journey with my close friends.

364 days, 355 blog posts and a massive amount of love and adoration from our ardent fans; who have rendered their unwavering support to our efforts. Time sure flies fast when you are doing something you love. It’s been a year of constant tinkering to get you the latest exclusives in the Asian BL world. In this one year, we grew from a team of three members to the current eleven. We met new people on the way, worked together and now we are a family. It wasn’t an easy endeavor; it takes countless hours of writing, editing and proofreading to publish the thoughtful and well-written articles that you enjoy on our website. To celebrate this day, I wanted to share the background of this blog, some of the best lessons that I have learned and also my experiences. Alongside, our authors would be sharing their thoughts as well. So buckle up, because this is going to be one long ride!

When Did I Begin Blogging?

I have always been passionate about writing and sharing my thoughts. But since I didn’t own my website, I was more prone to tweeting about it. It was through this random tweeting that I became close friends with my mentor, Jed Medina. For most people, he is the prolific “Psychomilk”. A legend who was quite well known in the BL circles. When he invited me to write for Psychomilk, I was beyond ecstatic. Let me remind you, Psychomilk was quite well known in those days and Jed followed a strict criterion to invite people in.

I still remember my first post, a Prolifer on my favorite actor- Earth Teerapat (of 2moons2). As I started this journey, I was relegated to the task of doing Prolifers. It was almost three or four months later, when I wrote my first review on “Where Your Eyes Linger”. The trajectory was different and thus began my journey as a full-fledged writer. I was later promoted to the position of Content Manager and that helped me boost my confidence. Two years down the line, it has been a life-changing experience. Blogging is like a poignant healing process; it gave me the strength to put my thoughts out on an international platform, irrespective of criticism. There are days when I receive a lot of positive feedback and then there are those when I receive backlash. Blogging has essentially taught me to be more receptive to both kinds of feedback. It has changed my perception, made me more confident and given me wings to fly!

Why The BL Xpress

I had quite a few random thoughts going through my head, while deciding on the name of this website.

First of all, I was faced with the uncertainty of handling such a massive task. It was in the month of February, 2022, that I resigned from Psychomilk (due to personal differences). For some reason, I couldn’t move forward with the idea of starting a new venture; until Joshua (ZombieSlimfast) nudged me forward. It was because of his constant assurances and support that I finally decided to take the final step. My dear friend Regina (Kdarlings) was entirely supportive of my choices and to this day, both of them have been my biggest strengths!!

Secondly, I wasn’t sure if I would be any good at running a website all by myself. We don’t have an on-site editor. So the massive task of editing and proofreading fell on my shoulders. I accept that it wasn’t easy. At times, I did get frustrated; but seeing the final draft published on the website sure gives me a sense of gratification. The feeling is unexplainable and unparalleled.

Which brings us back to the question- Why BL Xpress?

Very simple, I just wanted to choose a name that would reverberate amongst the common folks. Something that they can easily remember and Google for. I didn’t want to be tagged with a complicated name that would require explanations or justifications. The BL Xpress is a reflection of our thoughts about the varied BL Universe. I think the name fits!

Lessons & Memories

Working for my own blog has given me an expanse of invaluable life lessons. When I started this journey, I was unsure and hesitant about the final outcome. I was rather plagued with questions like “How will this work?”, “How can a three-member team handle this much work pressure?”, “What if we fail and this doesn’t work?”

Frankly, when we launched this website, the first few months were rather dull. The ratings and viewership were bare minimum. But that didn’t stop us from trying our level best. We gave it our 100% and in turn, today we are reaping the benefits. Today, The BL Xpress has a niche audience who avidly follow our website and comment on our efforts. So, the first lesson is to push through your boundaries and step out of your comfort zone. When you try something different; it might not always give the desired results. But don’t stop trying and never give up on your dreams.

Secondly, don’t let negative thoughts affect you. I’m saying this, because the BL industry has exposed me to a kind of toxicity that is quite prevalent amongst the uncouth fanbase. You will always meet two kinds of people in your life- the ones who support you unconditionally and the ones who backstab you. Embrace your loved ones and put the toxic ones on the backburner. They aren’t worth your time and energy. Surround yourself with positive people and energy. Life is too beautiful to lament on the words of negative individuals!

What kind of life lessons did BL Dramas/ Movies impart?

BL dramas are grossly misunderstood as sexual or sensual content featuring same-sex relationships. They aren’t; to me, BL content represents the varied issues and problems faced by the LGBTQ community. The ridicule and prejudice faced by the community, the confusion faced by the teenagers who are trying to come to terms with their sexuality; acceptance, self-awareness and their search for like-minded people to fall in love with. BL dramas/ movies represent the struggles faced by the LGBTQ+ and we should be grateful that the genre is giving them a platform to voice their opinions. BL doesn’t always equate to romance; it is a juxtapose of socio-political issues affecting the community and their fight for freedom as well as equality!

Before signing off, I do want to take this opportunity to thank our avid readers who have been ardently following us on this wonderful journey. The BL Xpress wouldn’t be where it is today, if it wasn’t for your continuous support. I also want to thank my team of dedicated writers, who have never failed me. They make me believe that “Nothing is Impossible”. Next up, our authors would be sharing their inner thoughts about the BL genre and their experiences.

BLBlissAuthor

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1) What does the BL genre mean to you?

It means the end of traditional love stories and a newer creation evolving where love’s boundaries are only constricted by prejudices, customs, religions, and cultures. It is not limited by feelings.

2) What kind of life lessons have you learned from watching the BL shows/movies?

It has answered all those agonizing chapters of growing up isolated, lonely, and guilty that somehow someday that pain would lead to a greater good if enough of us finally said No More. This is our time to say No More and to be proud of who and what we are.

3) How is your experience of working at BL Xpress?

This is not work in any sense of that word but an opportunity. It is a platform to reflect and enumerate about what I have seen, heard, and most importantly felt. I then share that with you. Not as pearls of wisdom but from lessons learned from a course of life where all of this was not even a fantasy.

Kdarlings

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1) What does the BL genre mean to you?

For me, the BL genre is about representation. While many of the stories are written with a specific shipping audience in mind, just as many of them are powerfully told for their gay audience. As a bisexual female, I am always looking for gay romances I can connect to, whether it is a lesbian or gay drama or film. I don’t have a genre preference, but I do tend to gravitate towards powerful and often emotional plots. I am particularly drawn to Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese projects because of this. BL’s delivers romances I feel a part of. They normalize same-sex relationships in well written scripts that make watching them enjoyable.

2) What kind of life lessons have you learned from watching the BL shows/movies?

Life lessons are tricky, especially for older viewers. Most dramas and films are written with an audiences’ emotions in mind, hoping to tap into that part of the brain that says, “I need to see more.” For me, if a BL also manages to teach me something, it becomes a fast favorite. But for older audiences, for those of us, who’ve spent many years learning about the world through our own ups and downs, it isn’t as much about learning a lesson as it is about relating to a lesson we’ve already learned. From stories about sacrifice and loyalty to coming out and being shunned, films and dramas that feel relatable to us leave the deepest impressions. These are the projects I remember, the ones that left me feeling gut-punched and seen.

3) How is your experience of working at BL Xpress?

I will forever be grateful to the BL Xpress for giving me a platform where I can talk about something I love, where I can talk about the things in my life I relate the most to when it comes to the dramas or films I watch. I’ve been with the BL Xpress since its beginnings, and I fall in love with it more with each passing day. The friendships I’ve made and the connections I’ve nourished have been invaluable. Thank you, Krishna, for letting be a part of your fantastic site. May you have many, many years of success ahead of you.

ZombieSlimfast
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1) What does the BL genre mean to you?

To me, the BL Genre means a much more intimate and unique look at two men of Asian origin falling in love with one another. When I first saw the acronym on the spine of a manga, I didn’t understand what it was for. But seeing two men romantically linked told me everything that I needed to know. The stories take the best and worst from the cultures they represent and channel them into acts of affection or hate displayed on screen, and or in pages of books.

2) What kind of life lessons have you learned from watching the BL shows/movies?

The life lessons I gained from BL are:

– Always be honest, cause being shady ruins everything

-Friends are there for a reason, listen to them always

-It doesn’t matter how you look, someone is gonna love you

-Going for what you want is the only way to be happy

-if you don’t love yourself you’re gonna treat your lover like crap

3) How is your experience of working at BL Xpress?

Working for the BL Xpress is a fun experience that feels like hanging with friends when we are all together online; or discussing a show or actor. There’s an unabashed openness that comes from knowing we all respect one another, as well as value each other’s opinion.

MychelleLove

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1) What does the BL Genre mean to you?

BL/GL Genre to me is the love between two people. I found the BL Genre whilst I was scrolling through Facebook and came across a series called Love by Chance. I needed to see this love story from beginning to end. Once I watched it, I was instantly hooked. This is simply a love story between two people who are deeply in love with each other. Yes, they are of the same gender but this is ok; as love is love plain and simple. I have watched my fair share of good and bad series. I have cried, laughed, and felt the feelings of the characters in the series. I have a different outlook on BL and all it entails. I will always love the BL World and all who are a part of this genre. This is the one place I can go and see love in its simplest form. There is nothing more invigorating than the realization that true love does exist.

2) What kind of life lessons have you learned from watching the BL shows and movies?

I have always been of the mindset that love should be irrespective of gender or sexuality. Being over 40 years old, I have experienced a lot. The one thing I can say with certainty is that learning about the dark side of the BL world was really eye-opening to me. I guess I didn’t realize it was this bad. I followed some of the BL actors during this time and I was completely heartbroken, whenever they hgot entangled in a new controversy and got bashed unnecessarily. This is the one thing I can say was a life lesson to me.

3) How is your experience of working at the BL Xpress?

I have truly enjoyed my time with BL Xpress; I have learned a lot about the reviewing end of things. I get to review some of my all-time favorite BL’s, GL’s while getting to relive the excitement I felt while first watching them. Everyone has been extremely helpful and kind. I was a novice when I started off but I quickly learned what a review was meant to be. I will continue to learn and the BL Xpress team makes me feel that I am part of something special.

PotatoBLChild

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1) What does the BL genre mean to you?

I think that I’ve already mentioned this in an earlier article, but I think I’ll always stand by this—BL is my comfort zone, a place of solace and happiness. I always turn to BL, and now with so many series in production, there’s really no dearth of BL media online. I also work on research related to BL and my interest in K-pop and K-drama is informed by it as well. Sometimes I do need to take a good break from BL but they’re not too long anyway. All in all, BL takes up a lot of space in my head and I can’t seem to escape.

2) What kind of life lessons have you learned from watching the BL shows and movies?

More than life lessons, I would say that I’ve had quite an eye-opening journey with BL—whether it’s with redefining queerness that’s always been a part of my life, or with understanding my preferences when it comes to media. It’s widened my interest in music, too! It helped me face my demons head-on and gave me answers that I’d never expected. This odd confidence (although mixed with anxiety) that helps me randomly blurt out stuff is more of a combination of what I got from BL, along with some of the most considerate people in my life.

3) How is your experience of working at BL Xpress?

Quite amazing! It has been hard to keep up with a lot of stuff going on, but Krishna has been so understanding about everything (even when I slack off). I haven’t had this much fun writing about anything else. We’re all free to write in our own ways, and that frees up a lot of creative space. I feel terrible about not being able to write much lately. However, she’s been such a dear throughout this year. My co-writers are awesome as well! They’re a fun group of people who all love BL and it’s like I’ve found a safe space in this bunch.

Happy First Anniversary to us!

Yarnball

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When I was asked to write about my experience with BL and writing for the BL Express, I thought, hey this won’t be hard, it’s about myself, right?

Wrong.

The first thing, though, was easy enough: What does BL mean to me?

I’ve probably mentioned this before but I was something around 15 when I discovered BL via an ad for the anime adaptation of the manga Gravitation: fascinated by the pink haired main character, I looked it up and found that it was a romance between two men. I knew gay people existed (despite growing up in a country as restrictive as Saudi Arabia) but I had never seen actual media about them. It changed my life. And now, nearly two decades, and several BL related research projects later, I can safely say that BL is literally the only thing I feel (somewhat) qualified to talk about with some confidence. My favourite BL series/novels/manga and even couples are pure shots of serotonin and I wouldn’t be the person I am without it.

What Have I Learned from BL?

Cliched as it sounds, I think I learned the first meaning of ‘love is love’ from BL. I had never been interested in romance as a genre before, but BL made me see the value in it, the possibility for variety. The genre is also single handedly responsible for my literal desire to ‘learn’ at least 5 foreign languages. More recently, watching how BL fandoms work has fascinated me about how communities of strangers come together.

My Experience working with the BL Express

Now this is the easy one.

The problem with finishing a research thesis of any kind is the burnout that comes with it. I hadn’t been able to make myself sit down and write anything forever, and when I was asked if I wanted to come on board I didn’t even think twice. It would give me the motivation I needed to write, and it would give me the chance to watch series I probably wouldn’t have. And, most importantly, it would allow me to ramble on for as long as I liked about what I thought about a series.

More than that, I really enjoy the atmosphere on the site. I love reading the articles, features and reviews my fellow writers put out because it’s always so interesting to see different perspectives so articulately put together. It’s also such a great opportunity to debate and exchange ideas, or, well, just share the latest tea from the BL world.

So, yeah, happy anniversary to the BL Express, here’s to many more together!

Tanushka Saini
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1) What does the BL genre mean to you?

Acceptance. In very short words, BL as a genre means acceptance to me. It can be of anything and everything, acceptance of love, of others and oneself. It involves your emotional self so deeply that you end up discovering a lot about a lot of things. Through the characters, you go on an emotional rollercoaster. You live their life through them and through them you realise many things about life and about yourself. There are many kinds of stories, many kinds of love. It makes you accepting of all. For me, it also provides a breath of fresh air. The fluffy love and sometimes drama is just what I need at the end of a hard day.

2) What kind of life lessons have you learned from watching the BL shows/movies?

BL as a genre has spoken to me more than any. Now art is art and it can be interpreted differently by different people. BL taught me that what I desire in life is not something I should be ashamed of. I also do not require anybody’s approval for my desires. My desires are solely mine and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Newer BLs are more adaptive and include tropes and storylines which were not covered before. They include more issues and the relationships seem more realistic rather than just fluffy romance. This is why I love the newer BLs more.

Sometimes you find yourself stuck, so stuck that you are desperate for any escape. Just one distraction and you can find your way back. For me, BL provided that.

3) How is your experience of working at BL Xpress?

If I was to take one word to describe my experience of working at the BL Xpress it would be bliss. Watching BLs and writing about them, this is just the life I wanted. But apart from that, the community of writers here is super supportive. It is just wholesome. It also opened up a whole new world for me. I started watching many BLs of other languages. I got to know so much and it would not have been possible had I not joined BL Xpress.

Reveeiws

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1) What does the BL genre mean to you?

BL in the plain sense of it is a genre of romance depicting men in love. I discovered BL during the pandemic, after I had started watching some Thai dramas and quickly pivoted to BL after watch Max in Bangkok Love Stories. The BL genre is a vast genre with a lot of different subsets in it. We have comedies, tragedies, horrors, action etc. and at their core they are romantic stories, stories about going for what you love despite what society wants from us. As someone from a country were same sex relationships are still illegal and people still hold prejudices, the BL genre is a way into a parallel universe in which people are able to live their lives to the fullest and love whoever they want to and the boy usually gets the boy. Like any romance, BL means we get to see unconventional types of attraction and can root for someone other than ourselves, unlike in straight romances or GLs were I can easily put myself into one of the characters’ shoes, BLs give me a chance to be a neutral audience and I can enjoy the story without too much sentimentality and with an objectivity I normally wouldn’t be able to in hetero-dramas.

2) What kind of life lessons have you learned from watching the BL shows and movies?

Life lessons I’ve learnt from BL? If it wasn’t for the fact that I am very stubborn and don’t actually apply these things in real life, I’d probably be thriving right now. But Lessons that ONE can learn from watching BLs

1. The human condition is almost universal. Regardless of race and creed, we all aspire to be happy and to live our lives to the fullest. Everyone wants to be happy and loved.

2. While at our core the values are the same, people are also different, and it is important to respect everyone’s differences because it helps us broaden our points of view and stops us from seeing the world as black and white.

3. If you want something/or someone, go for it. The worst that can happen is they say no and you dust yourself up and continue with your life. You never know that person or that opportunity might just be waiting for you.

4. Don’t allow people to put you in a box / don’t put people in a box. People will surprise you, don’t underestimate them.

5. A lot of people are looking for a scapegoat for their miserable lives online, make sure you engage with people on the same wavelength as you are, people who, even in disagreement are still respectful and realise at the end of the day that we are trying to enjoy ourselves and no one is actively harming anyone by consuming BLs. Cis straight Women in particular bear the brunt of the abuses, because people try to “other” them and accuse them of “fetishizing” and all other stuff like that. The silencing of women and respectability politics did not start today but it is disheartening watching this happen in a society that is supposed to be more inclusive and tolerant. All this to say, be careful which ends of social media you hand around and always take care of your mental health. BL helped a lot of people during the pandemic as a soft little cushion of comfort and joy and this is what I believe BL is all about. Tolerance and extending grace towards each other.

3) Why made you join the BL Xpress?

I joined BL Xpress because I really wanted to start writing more, particularly commentary on BLs and series reviews and BL Xpress, an already established platform, was for me an opportunity to write about what I enjoy and it allowed me to meet a community of like-minded writers who can help me grow and fall in love more with BL and what it stands for. I also see writing about BL as a way to give back the genre of BL and as a token of appreciation to everyone who has worked tirelessly to make this genre the way it is today. I don’t follow actors and writers on social media or engage with them the way most fans do but I hope my writing can be a token (to the universe) of my appreciation of their work and their efforts. There is a lot of negativity in the BL community, as with any online community, and for the most part I would like my writing to be a ray of sunshine in spite of the vitriol we see online. I believe that writing is very therapeutic and I wanted to write more as a New Year’s Resolution, as well as also use writing as a way to sift through my own emotions and to actually get to a point where I take lessons from what I watch and eventually or if need be, apply those lessons to my everyday life. The BL Xpress was the gateway to me actually managing to do something I put my mind to. If I had just committed to writing on my own I would never have written anything past my first blog post.

Sarinpai

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1) What does the BL genre mean to you?

BL came to me at a time when I was coming to terms with my sexuality within a very heteronormative familial and educational space. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that a big part of the reason why I am grateful to have never had internalised homophobia was because of the BL content I was consuming at the time.

What kind of life lessons have your learnt from watching BL shows/movies?

BL provided me the reassurance that what I was feeling was not limited to me alone; there were spaces where same sex desire was not only articulated, but celebrated, and these spaces have grown exponentially with the popularity of East and South-East Asian BL series in recent years. Discussions about BL on social media are often in safe spaces where queer people feel comfortable to discuss their own experiences and gush about how they get to see some of those experiences on screen through their favourite series.

While I understand that there is still a lot to be done for representing different stories of the queer community, as well as increasing access for openly queer people in the creation of said stories, the industry has already made great strides in such a short amount of time, and I wholeheartedly believe that soon, we will get to see even greater representation within BL media.

3) Why made you join the BL Xpress?

I had been looking for opportunities to write about BL for months when I heard about the BL Xpress, and since then, started to follow the blog regularly. I was more than happy to see that not only were there avenues for writing reviews but opinion pieces as well, which would give me a lot of freedom with respect to my creative output. Sometime later, I also made acquaintance with a contributor for the BL Xpress who encouraged me to apply, citing their own positive experience with the blog. So here I am! I hope to take this space to write about something which has helped me so much over the years and will try to contribute to the steadily growing fan engagement with the BL industry.

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We would like to take this opportunity to thank our readers. Thank you for reading, following and commenting. To many more years of BL love & celebration!

6 thoughts on “A Milestone Along Our Path Together- Happy One Year Anniversary”

  1. It is so much fun learning about the world through consuming BL media.

    BL inspired me to renew my long-expired passport, go to some local businesses I wouldn’t have otherwise visited (like the Thai video store), donate to some international organizations that serve LGBT+ youth, and speak with colleagues about gay rights around the globe using BL dramas as a basis for our conversation. (Here’s hoping that someday anyone, anywhere will be able to legally exchange guitar picks with the person they love.)

    It’s great being a part of a community that while small in the U.S. – I may be the only person who’s ever watched “Bite Me” to recognize Aek’s UMD t-shirt – is growing rapidly, from the expanding wait lists for BL manga at my local library to seeing all-American Disney step into the BL world with the distribution of “Cupid’s Last Wish” on its Hotstar platform.

    Happy Anniversary BLXpress! Thanks for all you do!

    Like

    1. It was so encouraging to read this. I’m glad to know that the BL media is rapidly helping in paving a path for the LGBTQ community. Thank you for your lovely comment. We endeavour to do more !!!

      Like

  2. Happy anniversary and thanks for all the work and fun the group has put into this- I have found many treasures from reading this website and surely appreciate it!

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  3. Happy Anniversary. You have no idea how proud I am of you and your accomplishments. You may guess who I am…. Red is the color of my name. LOL

    Like

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