Pride in Asia
This Pride Month, I decided to delve a bit deeper into my roots. As an LGBTQ+ Asian, I have hardly ever seen myself represented in popular media. As an LGBTQ+ woman of South Asian descent, I have seen myself represented only once. In a media dominated by white gay stories, I wanted to find more LGBTQ+ Asian literature, music, art, and television. Asian representation is already spotty enough in popular media… Now add LGBTQ+ to the mix, and you’ve barely got any mainstream content. I wanted to find media that I could better connect with— I knew it had to be out there somewhere.
This was quite a personal journey for me; I found out that LGBTQ+ Asians have been telling their stories for centuries. Seeing that I wasn’t alone in my experiences and that there was a community of Asian creators (and SO MANY South Asian creators) who shared my reality was incredibly comforting. I wanted to bring light to their hard work and provide a list of their names and creations, so that other LGBTQ+ Asians could find that same comfort. LGBTQ+ Asian artists deserve just as much of a spotlight as their white counterparts, and their stories must also be recognized.
I encourage everyone, Asian or not, to look into the history and intersection of LGBTQ+ and Asian identities. I have no doubt that you will be amazed by what you find. Before this research, I had never heard of Richard Fung, although I DEFINITELY should have. In the 1980s, Richard founded the Gay Asians of Toronto, which was the first ever Canadian organization focused on advocating for LGBTQ+ POC. Richard has explored many different topics via film, such as the AIDS epidemic in the Asian community, the stereotypes gay Asian men face, chosen vs. biological family, and Canada’s long history of homophobia and racism. I recommend checking out his shorts, particularly Sea in the Blood. His work gives a much deeper insight into the experiences of the LGBTQ+ Asian Canadian community and brings LGBTQ+ Asians the representation they deserve.
We collectively need to highlight Asian LGBTQ+ experiences and contributions. As an incredibly diverse community with a rich history, it is so important that these stories are shared and are not lost. I hope that my list can be the starting point for many of you, and I hope that it provides a sense of belonging and connection to my fellow LGBTQ+ Asians. Happy Pride Month to all of you, and remember to brush up on your West, Central, South, South East, and East Asian LGBTQ+ media 🙂 Click here to see the list