Will Varner 「32 Things Gay Asian Men Are Really Tired Of Hearing」

Posted on May 26, 2017 commentaires
“Me: *breathes* White man: you’re so ~exoticccc~?

Let’s just get one thing straight: gay Asians (gaysians if you’re sassy) are a gift from the heavens to a world that would be tragically boring without them.

But for some reason, even in this blessed age, gaysians STILL have to put up with some rude, racist, and completely bonkers crazy talk! Here are some cringeworthy examples of what some gaysians told us they are so tired of hearing. Let’s get right into it, shall we?

1. “You have a big dick, for an Asian.” “......”
— Sid (25, Chinese, gay)

NBC / Via ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com

2. When I’m with an Asian-American friend who is the token in a big group of white gays and I find out that they have a low-key racist nickname like “Panda.” Once I was picking an ex up from drinking and his friends kept saying he was their “little Korean boy” and I almost got into a fight.
— Sean (28, Japanese American, queer)

3. “No offense, but I don’t think Asian guys are attractive.”
— Anonymous (28, Taiwanese, gay)

youtube.com / Via giphy.com

4. There seems to be this unsaid rule that old white daddies totally have a shot with all gaysians.
— G. Chang (30, Taiwanese, gay)

5. “Filipino? Is that even Asian?”
— Adrien Dacquel (28, Filipino-Chinese, gay)

Fullscreen / Via imgur.com

6. “What do you mean you’re not a bottom?”
— G. Chang (30, Taiwanese, gay)

7. “I love Asians!”
— Aaron (30, Chinese, gay)

8. A lot of the guys that I’ve gone on dates with expect me to be a lot more submissive and let them take the lead on things, make all of the decisions, etc.
— Liem Ho (21, Vietnamese, gay)

Logo / Via reddit.com

9. When Asian people say any permutation of “Asians who date white people are whitewashed.”
— Sean (28, Japanese-American, queer)

10. With sex, especially on apps, guys will just presume I’m a bottom and ask to see pics of my butthole!
— Liem Ho (21, Vietnamese, gay)

11. This special moment.

— Lowell Acorda (27, Filipino-Canadian, queer)

12. “This is my first time dating an Asian. I’m not usually into Asian guys.”
— Ryan Jordan (27, Filipino, gay)

13. When I’m with another Asian guy, I often get asked if they’re my brother/family/etc.
— James (36, American-born Korean, gay)

Giphy / Via giphy.com

14. Random person: “So what’s your ethnicity?” Me: “Half Filipino and half white.” RP (in an almost relieved voice): “Oh, you’re only half. You don’t even look that Asian. Thankfully, you’re so tall.” As if, were I a short smooth Asian with more predominant Asian eyes, I wouldn’t meet the standard of beauty.
— Justin Arroyo (30, half Filipino, half white, gay)

15. Most of the microagressions happen during the selection process. The “No Fats, No Femmes, No Asians” I encounter on apps really keep me from even getting to the table.
— Dennis H. (34, Vietnamese, gay)

16. “Yoga is my everything. Look, I’ll show you some of my poses.”
— Anonymous (40, Indian-American, gay)

Miramax / Via giphy.com

17. I think it’s sad that there isn’t more of a nurturing gaysian community. It feels inherently competitive — if anyone has a white or Latino boyfriend, that boyfriend is automatically classified as a “rice queen” by other gaysians... and then it’s like, the prowl is on!
— G. Chang (30, Taiwanese, gay)

18. Really sick of people saying to my ex partners, “I didn’t know you had yellow fever.”
— Justin Wee (25, Chinese-Malaysian-Australian, gay)

19. “What’s the difference between Chinese and Japanese food?”
— Adrien Dacquel (28, Filipino-Chinese, gay)

Seoul Broadcasting System / Via giphy.com

20. “I don’t like Asian guys, but I like their culture.”
— Sato (26, Japanese-American, gay)

21. One comment that turns me off all the time is “You must be really smooth.” Because for some unknown reason we can’t have a stitch of body hair?
— Paul X. (39, Laotian-Vietnamese, gay)

Giphy / Via giphy.com

22. Tired of other gaysians/Asians who won’t say BLACK LIVES MATTER.
— Ken Tran (28, Chinese-Vietnamese-Burmese, gay/queer)

23. “How do you speak English so well?”
— Aaron (30, Chinese, gay)

Time / Via giphy.com

24. “Ni hao!” ... bitch please, I used to be an English tutor in high school and don’t even speak Mandarin.
— Marcos Chin (42, Chinese, gay)

25. As someone who is half Filipino, I get tired of people referencing how much someone loves pancit or lumpia when trying to relate to the culture. We are not just a noodle dish and egg rolls, lol.
— Anonymous (35, white/Filipino [Pacific Islander], gay)

Logo / Via tenor.co

26. “OMG I know someone who’s exactly like you! You remind me of him so much!!!” Like sorry, boo, but you just know another brown gay person. The first couple times I didn’t care, but it happens So. Much.
— Aaron Fernandez (23, Filipino-Mexican, gay)

27. When people assume I need a sugar daddy! *plays Shangela Untucked GIF*
— Ken Tran (28, Chinese-Vietnamese-Burmese, gay/queer)


28. Random guy: “What are you?” Me: American. RG: No, where are you from? Me: Texas. RG: No, I mean, where were you born? Me: “New Jersey...”
— Nic Aldana (39, Filipino, gay)

29. Guy at a bar: “So, do you really have a small dick?” Me: “Uhh, excuse you...?” Guy: “Why don’t you come over later and prove me wrong?”
— J.J. Jue (28, Chinese, gay)

ABC / Via keysmashblog.com

30. Do your parents want you to have an arranged marriage to a woman still?
— Anonymous (36, Indian and gay)

31. The worst one is if an Asian guy is dating a cute white guy. People say, “That guy must be a rice queen!” Biggest insult!
— Lysander (34, Filipino, gay)

32. “You’re not like other gay Asians. Maybe you’re not gay.”
— Alistaire Jacob Bilas (38, Filipino, gay)

Logo / Via giphy.com

Keep your head up, my magnificent gaysians, and shine on like the true miracles you are!

Crunchyroll.com / Via giphy.com

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Eric Nakamura 「In Unity - Artist Jeffrey Cheung」

Posted on May 25, 2017 commentaires
Photo by George Ko and Eric Nakamura

In the avenues of Oakland, a group of artists create in a two-story studio loft. Among them is artist Jeffrey Cheung whose space includes piles of skatedecks, t-shirts and prints which are a part of his brand, Unity. Cheung, 27, grew up skateboarding and recently founded a brand that lives up to its name by being open to all genders, ethnicities, races and even skating styles.

In a skate environment that’s often hegemonic hetero, Cheung is opening doors, building visibility and moving forward. His skate deck graphics are currently hand painted, depicting a variety of people, without shying away from sexuality. Not far away, he and a collective of friends recently opened a space called Unity Mart which features art, zines and an internet radio station. The shop is tiny at just a few hundred square feet, but has a grand meaning to the local community and beyond.

Giant Robot Media 「Unity Mart - Jeffrey Cheung」 (Video by George Ko and Eric Nakamura) - posted on May 25, 2017.

GR: Tell me about Unity and its many branches, especially the new Unity Mart!

Jeffrey Cheung: Unity is a name I have used for many different projects that weren’t necessarily meant to go together. Maybe this happened a little bit out of laziness, but it has sort of stuck and I like what the name has become and its positive connotation of bringing different things/people together.

It first started as a name for me and my boyfriend’s music project. It was a two piece that eventually grew into a full band with three other friends. Unity Press is also the name I used to write on my zines for fun, but then it actually became an independent press for myself and other artists. One of the most recent projects, Unity Skateboarding, which started in January of this year, is an idea to create more visibility and representation for LGBTQ+ skaters. I have been hand painting each board and sponsoring queer skaters from all over, and it has been really exciting because there hasn’t really been a space or community for us. Hopefully this will bring queer skaters together and inspire the next generation?

GR: Was there an event or something that sparked Unity Skateboarding? Like something you saw or experienced?

JC: Really just meeting and skating with other LGBTQ+ skaters is a huge inspiration. When I was a teenager I felt like I was the only one and now I know tons of queer skaters and that is super motivating. Brian Anderson coming out and the female skate scene also helped spark the idea, along with tragic events and loss of a friend towards the end of last year gave me an extra push to do something positive during dark times.

GR: How’s Unity Mart?

JC: Unity Mart is the newest project. It is a collaboration with 7 friends, including myself. We are all creative people and decided to have a space where we could bring our outlets together. We officially opened a month ago and it has been going pretty well – it is exciting to have all of our things in one space. The mart is pretty small, but it a multi-functioning space. We are a space for creative products, zines, queer skateboarding, Risograph printing studio, gallery, and live streaming studio for Lower Grand Radio.

GR: Any fun stories about The Mart?

JC: Nope.

GR: Is it comfortable being part of the complex in Oakland? I know it’s a step out of the punk rock art studio you’re at, and part of a brand new type of building with a beer garden!

JC: Honestly we were very hesitant to move in at first since the new development is part of the gentrification that is going on in this area and we did not want to be a part of that. As a queer person of color I also do not identify with a lot of the other spaces and businesses that are in the complex – but we hope that we can make a difference here and give back to the community and be more than just a retail art space. We recently did an event for queer youth and gave out free skate decks and free zine printing services and we hope that we can continue to make this a safe space for queer youth and host events for them and provide support. Lower Grand Radio is also always looking for people in the community to come and do radio shows, we want to give them an opportunity to share their voices and opinions. We also have a Risograph here in the space and want people to come in and be creative and use it to make art and zines. We are definitely conscious of who and where we are and what this space is doing to the existing community so it is always with mixed feelings. We would love to see more brown and queer owned businesses here in the future.

GR: Tell me about the Riso and how it influences your zine making?

JC: The Riso is still sort of new for us. We’ve had it for maybe a little over two years. There is definitely a Riso trend right now but it’s great for zines and fliers, and it is very economical. Also, the colors are fun to play around with. We now keep our Riso in the mart available to the public and hope it can be useful for others.

GR: You’re able to keep your work simple and I saw you turn out decks with ease. Are your paintings as speedy?

JC: I like to be pretty simple in my artwork. My paintings are on the quicker side, but it definitely still takes a little while especially if I am working on a larger piece. The longer I spend on a painting the worse it gets usually.

GR: Where did your painting chops come from? You have to be confident to be able to get work out that quickly.

JC: I have just spent many years painting and drawing!

GR: Can you talk about the iconography of the people in your work?

JC: In a lot of my previous work I was mostly depicting imagery related to my own personal sexuality which was more male-centric. I felt the need to make more inclusive imagery for this community based project and am now portraying a wider range of identities, varying skin tones, shapes and genders. Otherwise the imagery wouldn’t be much different from the already male dominated skate industry.

GR: Are there a lot of trans skaters? I haven’t necessarily assumed genders of people who are skating by. I’m judging on them on what they’re riding and perhaps if they’re pushing mongo or not. Also what do you think about mongo pushing?

JC: There are lots of trans skaters just like there are skaters of all identities. They have always been there but just in the shadows and now we are just gaining more visibility.

I am all for mongo pushing! Everyone skates differently and has their own form of expression. No one should tell you how to skate.

GR: Skating is sort of bro like. How did you handle that as a surrounding?

JC: Even though I am gay, I am still a cis male and I suppose it was easier for me to blend in a little more. I guess you just learn to adapt and pretend like you are somebody else which is pretty awful. Luckily I had friends who were supportive even after I came out, but I know it is not like that for everyone. I really think it’s much harder for trans, female and other people who are outside of the cis male appearance.

GR: What tricks are you doing and what’s your local skate spot like?

JC: I grew up skating a lot of flat ground and I love skating parking lots. I am trying to branch out though these days but usually trying to keep it mellow.

Catch more about Jeffrey Cheung at Unityzines.com Jeffreycheung.com Hashimoto Contemporary and https://www.instagram.com/unitymart/

Author: Eric Nakamura/Date: May 25, 2017/Source: https://www.giantrobot.media/stories/2017/5/25/jeffrey-cheung

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SEVENTEEN 세븐틴 「Don't Wanna Cry」

Posted on May 22, 2017 commentaires

SEVENTEEN 「Don't Wanna Cry」【울고 싶지 않아】- released on May 22, 2017.

Merveilleuse choré !

SEVENTEEN 「Don't Wanna Cry」【울고 싶지 않아】(Performance Ver.) - posted on May 29, 2017.

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Teriyaki Temple 「Out Gay Actor Conrad Ricamora On His Hits ‘Here Lies Love’ & ABC’s ‘How To Get Away With Murder’」

Posted on May 18, 2017 commentaires
Photo: Ricardo Birnbaum

Last week, SGS had the opportunity to catch up with Conrad Ricamora from ABC’s hit show, 「How To Get Away With Murder」. He dishes with Teriyaki Temple (aka David Luc Nguyen) about working opposite Viola Davis, the hazards of Grindr, breaking down stereotypes for Asian actors, creepy stalker moments and so much more... including his current project that brings him to the Emerald City, his starring role in the hit musical at Seattle Repertory Theatre, 「Here Lies Love」 written by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim.

Teriyaki Temple/David Luc Nguyen: Welcome to Seattle,Conrad! What brings you to our neck of the woods and are you enjoying your visit so far?

Conrad Ricamora: I’m loving Seattle and everything it has to offer. I am currently doing 「Here Lies Love」 at Seattle Repertory Theatre. (The musical) started at the beginning of March and (was recently) extended to June 18th. We are doing 8 shows a week. There are still some tickets available. I know that it was selling out, especially for the Thursday, Friday, Saturday night shows. But there are still some tickets available.

TT: With such a busy schedule have had much opportunity to check out some of Seattle’s attractions?

CR: I’ve been down to the (Pike Place) Market a couple times... got the grilled cheese at Beecher’s, which is my favorite. Ate at this place called “Sushi Kashiba,” I guess, which is one of Shiro’s restaurants.

TT: Can you tell me more about about 「Here Lies Love」? I read somewhere that you sing as well.

CR: 「Here Lies Love」 is musical written by David Byrne who is the lead singer of Talking Heads. Fatboy Slim also did some of the music, too. The show is about the the rise and fall of Imelda Marcos where I play Ninoy Aquino, who’s the Filipino revolutionary leader that helps to try to overthrow the Marcos’ dictatorship. It really focuses on the politics and the human rights abuses that happened in the Philippines.

TT: Do you think themes in this show echoes what’s going on in our current political climate here in United States?

CR: Yeah. I think it – David had the idea to write a show about powerful people that live in a bubble and are out of touch with what regular, normal people are going through.

I mean, if that doesn’t echo what’s going on right now, I don’t know what does. And also shows what happens when powerful people try to be above the law and especially this week, which is really just blowing my mind about how relative this show is right now.

TT: Do you call LA home usually, or where do you call home?

CR: Yeah. Both LA and New York. Right now, like I’ll go straight from here to LA once we start shooting in July. But New York... I’m still doing a lot of work there as well so I’m kind of back and forth between those two.

TT: Nice! Let’s talk, 「How To Get Away With Murder」. Your character, seems like he is the moral compass of the show. You’re surrounded by some pretty dark characters. Do you see Oliver being influenced by his peers? Or do you think that he might help them, raise them out of moral ambiguity or – ?

CR: Well, I definitely think he’s being drawn to the dark rise. yeah, I think that he’s making the choice to go over to the dark side a little bit more just by asking for a full-time job with Annalise.

And he’s stepping out of his own boundaries that he sets for himself as a person. Because of his relationship with Connor, I think that whether that turns into something as dark as being complicit in a murder [laughter] which he’s not quite there yet, although wiping the cell phone clean and kind of helping in that way is – he didn’t really know what will be.

He was just helping Annalise. He didn’t really know what he was doing at the time, but yeah. We’ll see how much more proactive he gets in that area, of covering up and being a little – just walking that fine line of being ethical and being a criminal [laughter].

TT: Looking forward to seeing how your character and the show develops. I read that you are of, I believe, Filipino and German descent?

CR: Yeah. Well, my mom is white. She’s from New Hampshire and my dad was born in the Philippines so I’m, yeah, half and half.

TT: Do you think it’s harder to be an Asian-American or mixed Asian-American in Hollywood?

CR: Well, I don’t really know. It hasn’t been for me so far [laughter]. I know that there’s definitely a lack of representation of well-rounded Asian characters... historically that’s been... we’ve been seen as comedic relief and kind of like the clowns and not been seen as fully realized human beings with sex drives, and complicated emotions, and complicated thoughts.

We’ve been kind of portrayed as cartoons, for the most part, in history. And I think that’s changing a lot now. I mean, I think there’s still a long way to go especially when you hear of projects that are casting white people as Asian characters.

That’s especially frustrating. I mean, you would never hear of – and there’s not as much outrage about that happening as it is when a white person would try to play a black person. And so it’s kind of like we still have a long way to go for that kind of equality to catch up. But I think we’re moving in the right direction. We’re just not there yet.

TT: Are you referencing Tilda Swinton from 「Doctor Strange」 where she plays the Master?

CR: I heard about it. I haven’t watched it or don’t know it well enough, don’t know the project well enough to comment on it.

I heard Emma Stone was getting cast in 「Aloha」 as a half-Vietnamese person [laughter].

TT: Oh yeah, I totally see Emma Stone with her red hair and freckles being half Vietnamese [laughter].

CR: So yeah. It’s just like those kinds of things. It’s kind of like, well, can’t you just cast an Asian person? The role is written for an Asian person.

There’s plenty of Asian actors that are looking for work. And if we don’t get seen, some producers and people and Hollywood executives say, “We don’t have an Asian star to carry the film.” And it’s like, well, if you don’t let us be seen, then we can’t be a star.”

TT: I agree! I totally hear ya!

CR: It’s this frustrating cycle of oppression. They’re saying that we’re not stars, but we’re never given a chance to be main characters in – we’re not even allowed to play our own ethnicity sometimes, so – unless it’s a horrendously cartoony version of it. So, I mean, I do think it’s getting better. Like I said, I still think we still have a long way to go.

TT : Let’s talk Stereotypes. So your character, Oliver, is of mixed Asian decent and he’s very tech-savvy and he’s a gay male who’s HIV-positive.

Some critics would say that Oliver reinforces some of the stereotypes that Hollywood portrays about gay men all having HIV and Asians being very smart, techy and nerdy and that all gay Asian men are submissive. What would you say to those critics and how do you think that your character challenges those stereotypes?

CR: I will say that when I went in to audition for the role, I was the only Asian guy in the waiting room. The guy that went in before me to audition for Oliver was black. The guy that went in after me was white, and so in the breakdown for the character, it wasn’t like they were looking for an Asian guy.

They just hired me to do it. And it hasn’t been – I really do feel like I’ve been able to play a really well-rounded character on the show. And a lot of the stereotypes of Asian men being submissive are not at all perpetuated in the portrayal of Oliver or in the way that he’s written. So I don’t agree with some of the stereotypes. If people say that Oliver is perpetuating any stereotypes, I just don’t see it.

TT: Agreed. I also believe that not all stereotypes are bad. I also think that you are a correct. Oliver doesn’t take much off of Connor when he is just looking for a late night booty call. I love how assertive he is (Oliver) in their relationship. I loved it when you slammed the door in his face in one of the episodes and when you let Connor know who was in charge in the bedroom.

Soooooo, moving to the next topic. My friends asked me to ask you if you were seeing anyone [laughing].

CR: Well, I guess it’s complicated [laughter].

TT: To satisfy my own curiosity. How does a celebrity like you date? Do you guys go on Grindr or Tinder or what [laughter]?

CR: No, you can’t really do apps once you have any kind of notoriety because then people are just – you don’t know if people just want to get in touch with you just to – if you’re all of a sudden just some novelty. So your privacy becomes a lot more – you become a lot more guarded in that regard and rely mostly on just face-to-face meetings, and meeting people through friends, and stuff like that. So yeah, I will say that any type of fame or notoriety has made it much more difficult to date [laughter].

TT: If you were to date one of the handsome many candy from the show, who would you probably most like see yourself pairing up with?

Would it be Jack, Charlie, Alfred, Billy, or Matt?

CR: I’m going to jump away from that and say I want to date Viola (Davis)! [laughter]

TT: Hahahah good pivot. I can’t say I don’t blame you though. Viola is beautiful and so talented.

CR: She is such a badass to me, and she is sexy and yeah [laughter]. I would skip everyone and jump there [laughter].

TT: How is it working with her? I mean, did you know her work coming into the project?

CR: Yeah, I respected her immensely as an actor, watching her in 「Doubt and The Help」. I was so excited to be able to act opposite her. And she’s just the nicest, realest person, and puts everyone at ease on set. Yeah, still, it’s such a joy to work opposite of her.

TT: Have you had any weird fan experiences so far?

CR: Yeah, when I was doing 「The King and I」, at the stage door a woman that was visiting from another country asked if she could kiss me. And I was like, “Uh, no [laughter].” Yeah, that was probably the strangest thing, just somebody – I was kind of shocked and like, “Wow, that’s bold.”

TT: Who are some of the artists in your current music playlist right now?

CR: Before the show to warm up I listen to Beyoncé’s『Lemonade』album. I listen to the song called – the song 「Freedom」 and that old George Michael song 「Freedom」. I just think a lot of our show has to deal with freedom... freedom for the people. I just feel like that kind of music pumps me up and gets me excited.

TT: So I’m curious. How does a psychology major end up in Hollywood?

CR: I took an acting class in college and then I just kept doing it, and just started doing community theater and found that it was something that I really wanted to do and then it slowly started paying. Then I went back to get my MFA in acting and just kept going. Realized that this was what I wanted to do with my life and just kept doing it.

Yeah, I didn’t know – when I was 18 deciding a major it’s like I didn’t really know who I was or what I wanted to do. It wasn’t until my junior year that I started discovering, “Oh. Wait, this is what I want to do.”

TT: That’s awesome. So I think I read you were from – is it Niceville, Florida? I imagine it’s kind of like growing up in southern Washington, where I grew up. I can’t imagine there is much diversity there?

CR: No, it wasn’t diverse at all. I was one of maybe – I think there were 3 other Asian people in my high school and the high school had close to 2,000 people [laughter] and there were only 4 of us. So it was very not diverse. Very conservative. And we didn’t even have a theater or an arts program. So I wasn’t even exposed to theater or acting or didn’t even know it was possible until I went away to college.

TT : Did you come out when you were still in your hometown? Or how was that process for you?

CR: When I was in undergrad I came out to my best friend, and then slowly just started coming out to my parents and other people.

TT: And how did your parents take it?

CR: Yeah, they took it well. I mean, they were really supportive, and just kind of said that it was okay, and that they wanted me to be who I was, and not try to be what I thought anybody else wanted me to be, or needed me to be. So, I mean, they were just there for me.

TT: So I guess, do you have any other projects coming up? You mentioned in July you’ll be heading back to the set for 「How To Get Away with Murder」. Do you have any other plans in the works?

CR: Yeah, I just shot this indie film that got picked up by Amazon that – I think it’s going to be on Amazon in 2018. It’s called 「The Light of the Moon」 and it deals with sexual assault in it, so that just got picked up, but it won’t be available until 2018, so it’ll be a while.

TT: Thanks for time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today and looking forward to seeing more of you and your work in the future.

Readers: Don’t miss this opportunity to see Conrad in 「Here Lies Love」 at Seattle Rep while its still in Seattle through June 18th!

For ticket info check out: https://www.seattlerep.org/Buy/HereLiesLove/Production/5713

About the Author: Teriyaki Temple
The former Seattle-Socialite joins the eclectic cast of Seattle Gay Scene contributors from time to time as a “special guest star.” When her busy schedule permits (between saving baby dolphins, compulsive shopping and juggling her duties as a Deputy Communications Director and Restaurant Heiress) she enjoys sharing her run-ins with the gay glitterati, celebutantes and the inevitable hot mess train-wrecks. She gives you the opportunity to view the world through unique lenses that only a cross-dressing, first generation Gaysian-American raised in rural Washington (who’s trying to make it in the big city) can. Miss Temple says, “the secret to an interesting story/piece is the ability to share your unconventional perspective to a wide-range of readers while still appealing to resonate to everyone on a personal level. Growing up as triple-minority in the predominantly Caucasian, blue-collar and very religious (Catholic and Mormon) town of Camas, Washington” while working for the family in what she refers to as “genetically mandated slave labor” taught her how to handle and communicate with “aggressive country carnie folk.” After leaving the small town she grew up in and finished University (in Seattle) she worked as minion for one of the world’s largest media conglomerates in Manhattan, worked in Government Affairs and later stumbled upon an opportunity to be a columnist for one of the leading LGBTQ publications in the country.

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Jessica Xiao 「6 Things You’re Telling Me When You Say I’m A ‘Bad Asian’」

Posted on May 15, 2017 commentaires
By the way, I’m Chinese by default, whether you consider me to be doing a good or bad job of it.

Originally published on Everyday Feminism

I’m currently jobless.

A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend at the time – also a social justice activist – asked me, “Have you thought about being a translator?”

“For what? French to English? I’ve studied it, but I’d definitely need to become more familiar with the particularities of the language.”

“No, for Mandarin to English,” he said.

I scoffed – that didn’t even cross my mind because I definitely don’t have the level of fluency in Chinese required for translation. At most, I can speak “Chinglish,” a mélange of Mandarin sprinkled with English for all the words I don’t know.

“You’re such a bad Asian,” he teased, because that’s soooo clever.

“Yeah, I know,” I replied instead of going in on him. We often teased each other about race because it’s exhausting to bear our visible racial identities as burdens since they’re such a core part of us, affecting how people treat us (he’s Black).

Besides, once upon a time – not so long ago – I would’ve agreed with him and been ashamed of “not being Asian enough.”

In my twenty-some years, I’ve heard many variations of: “You’re not Asian enough. You’re a bad Asian. You act so white. You’re not a real Chinese, are you?” And these messages taught me to be ashamed of myself.

These messages aren’t harmful because they offend me. They don’t. I’m used to them – and for your comfort and my energy retention, I’ll probably smile and let it go if you express such sentiments.

These messages are harmful because they’re seemingly innocuous, repeated frequently and believed.

They hold so much subtext about dominant attitudes and understandings of race in US society (just like the mere fact that we can still freely joke about Asians without it being socially distasteful does).

These expectations and messages about me have tried to crowd out my very existence.

Over time, I was taught to mind my social position, a position that has been predetermined within a racial hierarchy.

I learned that I’m not allowed to take up space and be whoever I want to be.

I’m reminded that nothing I do will ever satisfy anyone’s picture of who I should be because I’m not an amalgamation of stereotypes about “the Orient.”

These messages also disappoint me, when they’re bandied about – by Asians and non-Asians alike – without awareness of how based they are in white supremacy.

I’ve long stopped the exhausting endeavor of trying to live in line with expectations of how I’m supposed to behave based on the way I look, but what if I didn’t grow out of it?

Here’s six ways calling me a “bad Asian” or “not Asian enough” reminds me that the white gaze is in power and that the colonial mindset cultivated via white supremacy retains its dominance in shaping societal attitudes, even if you’re a person of color – and why that hurts.

1. You Invalidate My Lived Experiences
My inherent “Asianness” has nothing to do with the extent to which my behavior and appearance conform to your expectations of what an Asian person would do.

Yet my lived experiences are muted instead of amplified because they don’t fit your narrative of how I (and other people of color) play the sidekick to the white, cishet, American hero.

By calling me a “bad” Asian because I don’t conform to your expectations of me says you think I’m supposed to behave a certain way – and in fact, that I need to behave that way in order to be treated with respect.

It says that you’ve imbued my embodiment of stereotypes with a moral value of good or bad.

By the way, I’m Chinese by default, whether you consider me to be doing a good or bad job of it.

2. You’re Most Likely Erasing Anyone Not of East Asian Descent
One of the advantages of privilege is that one can be completely oblivious to certain issues taken personally by marginalized identities.

I call it an advantage only because the burden of empathy causes people to become activists or to realize that leading comfortable lives within a faulty system brewed in white supremacy is valueless.

Such awareness is not easy to bear – although people of color have been doing it for centuries. One such privilege is not realizing whose identities are erased.

According to the US Census Bureau:

“Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam. It includes people who indicated their race(s) as “Asian” or reported entries, such as “Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Other Asian,” or provided other detailed Asian responses.

There are many issues with such a definition (who counts as an “original” peoples?) but also with how we generally see Asian American as referring to East Asians, when in fact, Asian is such a broad and non-descriptive term that it’s similar to the false belief that Africa is one monolithic culture.

So when you call me a bad Asian, you’re probably only thinking about who you think I’m supposed to be based on played-out stereotypes of East Asians.

And when you support Asian American issues, you might not be truly supporting the issues of all Asian Americans.

3. You Don’t See Me As American
When I was young, I didn’t see my yellowness, but it was always apparent to my white peers as a marker that I’m somehow fundamentally different.

This is known as the perpetual foreigner effect, and it’s deeply felt by people of color who don’t pass as white and whose appearance is often associated with cultures that don’t originate in the United States.

Embedded in the way the US treats people of multiple cultures or cultures that don’t reflect the values of the dominant religious ideology is the message that one must shed all other cultures that aren’t related to whiteness (or Christianity) to be a true American – despite the myth of the “melting pot.”

When I was young, I didn’t see my yellowness, but it was always apparent to my white peers as a marker that I’m somehow fundamentally different.

This is clear in the way the US has always equated citizenship with whiteness, broadening the definition of whiteness over time to include more cultural groups (Germans and the Irish, for example), and then iteratively broadening the definition of citizenship to include people of color through changing the language of immigration laws.

Yet, whiteness is still the primary characteristic of being American, as Michelle Kwan, who was born and grew up in California to parents from Hong Kong, found out in 1998.

When Tara Lipinski, an American of Polish descent, beat her to win an Olympic skating gold, MSNBC published the headline, “American Beats Out Kwan.”

This definition of American based in whiteness has always been terrifying for those of us who aren’t in that select group because we’ve seen that it’s possible to intern American citizens of Japanese descent when their appearance somehow dictates something about their patriotism.

We’ve seen that Latinx Americans are racially profiled, especially near the Mexican border. We’ve seen that Muslim Americans are inundated with suspicion about their Americanness especially post-9/11.

Yet, the truth is that being American ought to be based in complexity, not in our proximity to whiteness.

When you say I’m being a “bad Asian” or “not being Asian” enough, you’re saying I must relinquish all other cultural and ethnic identities to be American – and, even then, I can’t shed my yellow skin.

And while you can easily dismiss my American identity and deny me full access to opportunity through systematically advantaging white people, I can’t discard the way I grew up or accept being treated like I’m a stranger in a country where I grew up.

4. You’re Quite Possibly Sex-Shaming or Fetishizing
Okay, this point doesn’t seem directly related to white supremacy and a colonial mindset upfront, but Western imperialism is inseparable from the patriarchal roots of their misogynistic rationale.

Gender normative attitudes have been passed down alongside attitudes about racial superiority.

East Asian women and folks misgendered as women are often fetishized as obedient, domestic, and virginal (whatever that means).

East Asian men are often emasculated. East Asian men are also often portrayed in media as being less sexually attractive because society enforces the idea that male sexuality has to do with conformity to masculinity.

If you call me a “bad Asian” because I’m sex-positive and you don’t like it, you’re sex-shaming.

If you call me a “bad Asian” because I’m sex-positive and you do like it, you’re fetishizing me based on my disconformity to the stereotype. Both are gross.

Worse, both leave me with no room for my own sexual expression by rendering me an object of your desire, only existing as a sexual being on this typecasting dichotomy.

5. You Most Likely Have Stereotypical Expectations of Other Ethnicities
If you call me a bad Asian, I’m going to think that you probably give weight to stereotypes about other races as well and that you expect them to behave in certain ways because of their race, especially if you “can tell” what race they are via their appearance.

This ownership of certain characteristics also applies in reverse – there are behaviors considered “white” that are also often correlated with proper assimilation in America that can’t be applied as one of my traits unless I’m “acting white.”

6. You’re Perpetuating the Model Minority Stereotype, Pitting Us Against Other People of Color
I grew up in a neighborhood where I could afford to believe that the US was honestly a country of equal opportunity for East Asians. When we called each other “bad Asians,” we meant we got low test scores.

But many also don’t get to believe that for so long. Asian American describes a diverse group of people with connections to 48 different countries.

Although some statistics may show academic and financial achievement, they often bundle all of these different groups together, instead of disaggregating the statistics for a more nuanced representation.

This model minority stereotype invalidates the struggles of Asian Americans who don’t embody this stereotype.

Yet, white people will use us as an example of how people of color can succeed in the US, equating the experience of upper middle-class Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, and Japanese people of color with that of all Asians and of all other people of color.

This suggests all of our struggles are rooted in the same historical contexts of oppression – they’re not.

The fact that many Asian folks buy into this “model minority” stereotype and believe in the American myth of meritocracy ultimately accounts for our small presence and lack of allyship with other people of color in social justice movements.

For this, I truly carry resentment.

Our “achievement” is often used as a basis for respectability politics, but no matter how “successful” we become, we’ll never be seen as white, and we’ll never transcend a government founded on the genocide of indigenous people and the chattel slavery of Black people.

We’ll continue being complicit in letting our country avoid confronting how deeply embedded imperialism is in its very roots until we stop taking pride in being associated with the model minority myth.

White supremacy has pitted us against other minorities – as if any of us belonged on a two-dimensional axis of who is closer to being acceptable in society when the truth is none of us will ever belong.


I love Yellowstone National Park. And Montreal. And the city of Ganzhou in Jiangxi Province.

And New York pizza. And dim sum. And ghormeh sabzi.

And NSync will always have a place in my heart over Backstreet Boys.

I grew up in a family with a culture rich in its own five-thousand year history and ideologies.

I wasn’t raised with the same cultural norms as those raised by white, middle-class guardians who could trace their bloodline’s time in the US over many generations. I’ll never find my ancestors’ names at Ellis Island.

Calling me a bad Asian or not Asian enough reminds me of the differences and tells me these differences are not okay because “white is right.”

Calling me Asian at all reminds me that my differences are actually a big deal and then makes them a big deal by playing out my differences through policy design because we live under white supremacy.

No matter how many times you tell me I’m causing the divide because I’m pointing out these constructed differences, I’m not the one who built legitimate institutions around them.

I’m Asian.

I’m Asian enough.

I’m American enough.

I’m so much more.

Jessica Xiao is a Contributing Writer for Everyday Feminism. She is a self-proclaimed nerd and book hoarder who is guilty of tsundoku. Often inaccurately described as Canadian, she thinks of herself more as a Montrealer with US citizenship living in Washington, DC, after having obtained her BA & Sc. in Psychology and the dark art of Economics at McGill University. She is a grant writer for the Montreal-based international women’s economic development nonprofit Artistri Sud and the former assistant editor and writer at The Humanist. She believes in empathic action and bringing our whole selves to every aspect of our lives for transformational social change. She frequently quotes Dorothy Parker and writes bad poetry at stillsolvingforx.tumblr.com. You can also find her on Twitter @jexxicuh or follow her on Facebook.

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James Yeh 「‘Master Of None’s’ Alan Yang Isn’t Laughing at Your Dumb Asian Joke」

Posted on May 12, 2017 commentaires

But he’s making his immigrant parents proud.

The long-awaited second season of Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang’s Netflix comedy 「Master Of None」 continues along the path that made it a critical darling when its first season debuted in 2015. Picking up from last season’s finale, Dev (Ansari) is in Italy, single and pastamaking; once he returns to NYC, the show touches on issues ranging from the Ansari family’s Muslim background to the experiences of various POC service workers. 「Master Of None」’s second season eventually winds toward a conclusion that’s both inevitable and surprising, featuring a moodier, more resigned Dev.

After profiling Ansari for VICE Magazine in 2015, I wanted to talk to 34-year-old co-creator, executive producer, and writer Alan Yang. Over sisig (fried pork) and dasilog (fried milkfish), I spoke with the Riverside, California native about their excellent new season, dating less white people, and just how political the show’s aims really are.

VICE: One of the most interesting episodes in the second season is “New York, I Love You,” which exclusively follows POC service workers – a doorman, a convenience store clerk, a taxi driver. How did you come up with this concept?

Alan Yang: Prior to season one, Aziz and I were walking around New York trying to figure out what the show was. We’d just come up with the 「Parents」 episode, which opened our eyes that the show could be anything. We walked past a guy selling sunglasses on St. Mark’s Place and were like, “What’s that guy’s life like? What if we just follow that guy for a whole episode?” We always joke about how, in a Jennifer Aniston movie, she walks into her nice apartment building and the doorman’s like, “Hi, Mrs. Shelton!” and that’s his only line in the movie. What if you just follow him for the whole movie?

The impetus behind that episode is that every human being in the world is the star of their own show. No one’s a side character. We wanted to come up with stories that were as funny, satisfying, heartfelt, interesting, and nuanced as Dev’s stories are. We came up with a lot of different stories and we threw most of them out, because the standard was always, “If we wrote this for Dev, would we put it in the show?” Usually, the answer was no. We had a story about the home life of an older Chinese lady who worked as a waitress. We wrote it out and were like, “This one’s not as good,” so we didn’t use it.

How important is presenting this kind of representation to your audience?

The number-one thing that we think about: Is it a story that interests us? 「Religion」 depicts Aziz’s family and his parents, who are goofy, caring, loving, and stern – and they just happen to be Muslim. We’re not necessarily going into these episodes with specifically political or representational messages.

I always wanted to do an episode about religion, because I thought it was interesting that the star of our show had Muslim parents. I don’t think people knew that about Aziz – I think people assume he’s Hindu, or who knows. We ultimately ended up with an episode that’s not really about religion or Islam, but about talking to your parents and coming to terms with who you are as an adult, as well as how much you’re willing to reveal to them. There used to be a montage of people being dicks to Dev because he’s a brown guy. We shot one of the scenes the day after Trump got elected, and it was really harrowing and weird. I had to tell this actor to yell, “Terrorist!” at Aziz the morning after Election Day.

A lot of this season was already written before Trump won.

When he got elected, we panicked. We were like, “Do we need to address this? Do we write new stuff?” We asked our friends at 「The Daily Show」 and 「[Last Week with] John Oliver」 to send us clips of Islamophobia. We did research, and it just didn’t feel right.

There was a piece in『New York』by Collier Meyerson called, 「Am I Finally Done with White Guys?」 about how Trump’s win had affected her love life. I’ve always dated white women, and now I’m like, “Maybe my dating pool should match my politics.”

I had that thought but unrelated to Trump, where I was like, “Too many white women.” I’ve talked about this with Aziz. Most of the people we meet on the street or through our friends are white. More than half of the people you meet in New York are white.

Especially in our respective industries.

Do you know how many Asian American writers there are in entertainment? It’s pretty low. I’ve had enough Asian, Indian, and POC come up and talk to me about the show, and I’m glad that they’re into it. If it can give one brown kid in Montana an iota of optimism, that’s great. It can feel very isolating to be in a place without anyone who looks like you.

Do you feel you’re personally focused on reaching that alienated brown kid in Montana?

That’s all subconscious and happening below the surface. Aziz and I are writing for ourselves, and we’re kids who grew up like that. Some of the stuff that we like – the specific jokes or experiences that we’re throwing into the show – are probably specific to people who look like us, but tons of it is universal and very much about longing, regret, or alienation. Loneliness is a big thing in this season. Who hasn’t been lonely? Ryan Reynolds has been lonely. I think.

“If it can give one brown kid in Montana an iota of optimism that’s great. It can feel very isolating to be in a place without anyone who looks like you.”

In Sherman Alexie’s upcoming memoir, he talks about having never read another Native American writer until he was in his 20s. I didn’t read anything by an Asian writer until I was in college. Was that similar for you?

I read『The Joy Luck Club』when I was a kid. Ang Lee’s out there directing stuff. I certainly can’t point to a show that was like, “That show was run by an Asian American showrunner.” People have asked me, “You mentioned Long Duk Dong in that [Emmys] speech. Did you ever get compared to him?” No! It was before my time. If anything, people would mention Bruce Lee, who is way cooler but also equally bad because he was the only famous Asian person. I resented it, so I didn’t watch Bruce Lee. When people made those “ching chong” sounds with fighting moves, it was like, “Well, I don’t want to watch these movies then.”

It’s been a long time since we had an Asian American hero figure. Where’s our Harrison Ford or, our Leo? I’d settle for an Asian Chris Pine. They don’t have to be the biggest star in the world. We’re making strides, though – there’s dudes on 「Crazy Ex-Girlfriend」 and 「13 Reasons Why」. It’s slowly happening.

“Where’s our Harrison Ford or Leo? I’d settle for an Asian Chris Pine. Doesn’t have to be the biggest star in the world. Relatively big.”

Were your parents supportive of your career path?

I’ve got to give it up for my parents. They’re very open-minded and progressive, even if it’s not expressed on the surface. They’re not “cool,” but they’re cool in some ways. When I told them that I wanted to move out to LA and just try to write, they were like, “Yeah, OK.” I’m sure they were cringing and full of trepidation inside. [But] they just drove me out there and were like, “All right, buddy. You’re on your own now.” They didn’t really pressure me, and they still don’t. They just let me do whatever. I’ve been really lucky in that respect. I don’t think that’s super common amongst Asian parents.

Do your parents watch the show?

Yeah, my mom’s very proud. She’s a high school teacher, and all her kids watch the show and they like talking to her about it. After season one, my mom sent me a text that said, “I’m very proud of you. I know you worked really hard on the show.” My dad did a similar thing. He emailed me something nice. It’s good. That’s a big step for them. Next we’ll be saying, “I love you.” They already text it. We’re getting somewhere.

Follow James Yeh on Twitter.

Season two of 「Master Of None」 is now streaming on Netflix.

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Ryan General 「Filipino Man Crowned as the Most Beautiful Gay Man of 2017」

Posted on May 11, 2017 commentaires

A Filipino hunk was recently crowned this year’s Mr. Gay World 2017, winning the Philippines’ first-ever Mr. Gay World title.

John Raspado also brought home several awards from the pageant, which took place from May 5–10 in Madrid and Maspalomas, Spain, reports Rappler.

Over 40 contestants from all around the world competed for the title in a bid to become an ambassador for the LGBT community.

“Big Congratulations to John Fernandez Raspado for giving honor to our country and for winning Best in Swimwear, Best in Formal Wear, Mr. Gay World Closed Door Interview, Mr. Online Vote, Mr. Social Media special awards in Maspalomas, Spain,” wrote Mr. Gay World Philippines organizer Wilbert Tolentino on a Facebook post.

Raspado also confirmed the win with a message on the Mr. Gay World Philippines Facebook page just minutes after his victory.

“Thank you to the people behind MGWPO (Mr. Gay World Philippines), especially to Wilbert Tolentino, for always guiding me on my journey to success and to those who helped me backstage and my fellow candidates. Especially the delegates of Belgium and Venezuela, who were my roommates,” wrote in Filipino, translated into English by Rappler.

“This is is not only for my family but also for the gay men like me who have principles and a purpose to fight for,” he added. “Thank you, Lord God!”

Upon winning his local pageant last year, the 36-year-old entrepreneur said HIV awareness would be among his greatest advocacies if he wins the world title. He said that he has, in fact, counseled some people in the past, and would like to focus on health issues.

Here’s the pageant’s official list of winners:
  • Mr. Gay World 2017 – John Raspado, Philippines
  • 1st runner-up – Candido Arteaga, Spain
  • 2nd runner-up – Raf Van Puymbroeck, Belgium
  • 3rd runner-up – Marco Tornese, Switzerland
  • 4th runner-up – Alexander Steyn, South Africa

Mr Gay World 「Mr. Gay World 2017 - The grand finale」 - posted on May 11, 2017.

Author: Ryan General/Date: July 31, 2017/Source: https://nextshark.com/filipino-man-mr-gay-world-2017-spain/

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Peng Zhang 「Being Asian And Queer In The West」

Posted on May 05, 2017 commentaires
Film offers a challenging but accessible catalyst for discussion on the internalised otherness of gay Asian men in Western countries, argues Peng Zhang.

For gay Asian men, whoever you choose to date, there is a phrase relating to you. Rice queen, potato queen, sticky rice – terms which define identity in relation to white and Western society. Putting race and attraction together is inherently political. Alongside think pieces and academic studies on queer Asian experience in western societies, film provides an important avenue for exploring attitudes and expressions, through fun and thought-provoking discussion of identity and desire.

In 「Yellow Fever」 (Raymond Yeung, 1998), Monty is a second-generation immigrant from Hong Kong who lives in London and enjoys a close circle of friends in the gay scene, where he expresses exclusive attraction to white men. When Taiwanese student Jai Ming moves into Monty’s building and shows romantic interests towards him, it causes Monty more discomfort than excitement, particularly when he realises that the feelings may be mutual. His subsequent confusion quickly becomes the only thing he talks about with friends.

Monty: Why do you find oriental men attractive?

Andrew: Oh, I don’t know. Why do you find Caucasian men attractive?

Monty: Cause they are more... sophisticated.

Andrew: Ah, do you? Dear, you are suffering from the typical post-colonial mentality, aren’t you? You’ve been brought up to look up to anything western, Vivian Westwood, Charlie’s Angels, Brotherhood of Men...

Monty: (clapping) Yes, Mr. Freud. Can you just answer the bloody question?

Andrew, who is white, touches on the idea that dating Caucasian guys is a way for minority ethnicity gay men to seek legitimacy in mainstream culture. Could Monty’s exclusion of Asian guys as object of desire be due to his urge to avoid being identified with the stereotypes that Western society has put upon Asian men? Andrew argues that, ‘all attractions [are] based on stereotypes,’ such as ‘the French supposedly being romantic and Italians being passionate’. For queer Asian men, stereotypes arguably do a disservice, being ‘either desexualised or fetishised’ in Western societies. Some people don’t mind the stereotype and try to own their label of GAM (Gay Asian Male), whereas others who strive for individuality and fight vigilantly against any mental shorthand stereotyping them.

Monty lives in a time and place where his ethnic cultural heritage is undervalued to the point that disassociating his own race from romantic pursuits has become second nature. Jia Ming’s appearance catches him off-guard, as someone who is not only attractive, but also confident of his ethnicity. Monty’s growing attraction to Jia Ming essentially destabilises the way he views his culture, and forces him to search for a new equilibrium in his identity.

Whilst 「Yellow Fever」 is about discovering internal conflict, Wayne Yung’s 「My German Boyfriend」 (2002) is about personal reconciliation. This fascinating 25-minute experimental film is divided into two parts with different tones. Part one sees Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Wayne Yung embark on a journey to Berlin in search of ‘the perfect German boyfriend’. After three unsatisfying (and humorously played out) dates, he realises that his fantasy ideal is really a work of fiction. Part one ends with him finding love with a second generation Kurdish-German man, and rejoicing in each other’s own blend of multicultural identity.

At first a light-hearted rom-com tonally, closing with conventional bliss, the film abruptly shifts into a documentary-esque tone, following Wayne’s ‘real life’ behind the camera. He has, in reality, fallen in love with a Caucasian German guy while filming in Berlin. In a way, the supposed ending of him falling in love with ‘someone of colour’ was the political ideal – multicultural, post-modern, everything being freely constructed. But in actuality, he still struggles with finding legitimacy in his new German home.

“Sometimes I feel special, like a guest from far away.
Other times I feel strange, like I invaded somebody’s house.”

Having a decade long history of film making about the GAM experience before then, Yung is clearly aware of the politics behind attraction. But what happens when you move beyond political ideals? Wayne is confronted by the difficulty in disentangling the rationale behind his choices. There might always be conflicts in how one sees oneself and what one wants in this world. Under the guise of a experimental dramedy, 「My German Boyfriend」 is really a film about someone trying to understand what culturally and romantically he is ultimately looking for in his life.

As short films exploring the potentially contentious subject of race and attraction, these two films are candid and thoughtful in their approaches. If there is one lesson to take away from them, it is to recognize the social forces that might be meddling with your desire, know what you truly want, and decide for yourself.


CINEMQ is a queer short film screening + party series. It is run by a group of queers with too much on their mind to sit still for long. We’re publishing articles on queer cinema and screen culture every week. Want to contribute? Message our account.

Author: Peng Zhang/Translator: Will Dai/Date: May 05, 2017/Source: https://www.cinemq.com/single-post/2017/05/05/Being-Asian-And-Queer-In-The-West

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Curtis M. Wong 「How The Joys (And Struggles) Of The Queer Asian Experience Inspired A New Podcast」

Posted on May 03, 2017 commentaires

WNYC’s 「Nancy」 delivers frank talk and provocative dish.

When they met at the Transom Story Workshop for radio professionals in 2013, Tobin Low and Kathy Tu immediately clicked. Still, it would take the pair nearly four years to decide on a project that they found professionally satisfying.

“We just sort of immediately clung to each other. There was an immediate chemistry,” Low, 30, told HuffPost. “We were trying to create the thing that we wish we had when we were young.”

Both Low and Tu believe they’ve found the perfect outlet for their creative passions in their new WNYC Studios podcast, the cheekily titled 「Nancy」. When it launched on April 9, 「Nancy」 promised “provocative stories and frank discussions about the LGBTQ experience,” and it’s safe to say that, five episodes in, it’s lived up to that vow.

Watch a short video of Low and Tu discussing LGBTQ stereotypes.

The 12-episode show’s latest installment, released April 30, took an in-depth – if somewhat skeptical – look at『Harry Potter』author J.K. Rowling’s implication that Albus Dumbledore is gay. Other episodes have featured gay porn stars, coming out stories and interviews with supporters of President Donald Trump who happen to identify as LGBTQ.

Queer-themed podcasts, of course, are nothing new. But Low and Tu, 31, believe 「Nancy」 is unique in that their podcast examines LGBTQ issues through an Asian-American lens. Though she and Low were raised in California, Tu was born in Taiwan, a fact which she believes factors heavily into the content and tone of 「Nancy」. The debut episode, 「Hello, hello」, saw Tu sitting down with her Taiwanese-American mother, who has thus far struggled to accept her daughter’s sexuality, for an emotional series of conversations.

Listen to the first episode below.

“We loved this kind of storytelling, and we wanted to bring it to things that we’re passionate about, which have a lot to do with our identities,” Low said. “We’re both queer, we’re both Asian, we’re both radio producers, so it was like, how can we make something that’s informed by all of those things and bring them together?”

As for as the podcast’s name, Tu and Low brainstormed (and eventually scrapped) a number of other options. Eventually, they chose 「Nancy」 in an effort to reclaim a derogatory, if antiquated, term used to refer to effeminate gay men.

“We went through a laundry list of all the puns that we could possibly think of,” Tu said. “None of them really sat right because they were either too on the nose or too weird.” Eventually, they settled on the name, which Tu said “worked out great. It refers to a part of culture. It’s sort of reclaiming that.”

Listeners seem to have taken to the first 12-episode season of 「Nancy」 thus far. Since its launch last month, the podcast has been featured in both『The Guardian』and on NBC;『New York Magazine』’s Vulture blog said the show is indicative of “an empathetic sense of how it feels to be young, searching and a work in progress.”

In the second episode, Low searches for an openly gay Asian male porn star.

Still, Tu and Low are aware that the debut of their podcast comes at a time when the LGBTQ community is facing an uncertain future in the Trump era.

“We always want it to be a place where people, especially queer people, would come, listen and feel affirmed,” Low said. “One thing we really try to do is let people tell their own stories in a way that engages in both what is difficult about their experience, and also what is joyful.”

Though Tu and Low are proud of the buzz that 「Nancy」 has been received, they’re already planning ahead for the future. The pair said they would love to feature stage and screen star B.D. Wong in a future episode, as well as 「Golden Girls」 icon Betty White.

“I just really want to put something good and positive into the world,” Tu said, “and this accomplishes that, 100 percent.”

Want more 「Nancy」? Head here or listen on iTunes here.

For the latest in LGBTQ entertainment, check out the Queer Voices newsletter.

Curtis M. Wong
Queer Voices Senior Editor, HuffPost
Curtis M. Wong is the Senior Editor of Queer Voices at HuffPost. He has written for『The Prague Post』,『Passport Magazine』,『The Hartford Courant』,『Business Insurance Weekly』, Abu Dhabi’s『The National』and Ohio’s『Akron Jewish News』, among other publications.

Kathy Tu
Official Website: http://www.kathytu.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/_ktu

Tobin Low
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tobinlow

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