There are hundreds of thousands of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. who identify as LGBTQ+. And at a moment rife with hate and bigotry against both the AAPI and LGBTQ+ communities — in the form of discriminatory legislation, political rhetoric, and even violence — many of them find it challenging to navigate their place at the intersection of AAPI and LGBTQ+ identities.
But as we connected with some of our LGBTQ+ team members, allies, and supporters, we discovered that there’s still so much hope to be found in and across our communities, even in challenging times.
With Pride Month drawing to a close, we want to take a moment to share with you a few reflections from our LGBTQ+ and AAPI staff and supporters.
What brings you the most joy during Pride Month?
Aisa, (she/her,) gay Filipino American woman:
“As a gay Filipino American, part of my makibaka (struggle) is unpacking the rigidity, heteronormativity, and shame wrought by colonization and capitalism. Horse Barbie, a new memoir by the Filipino-born trans activist, creative, and author Geena Rocero, is an incredible call toward self-affirmation, unabashed joy, and LGBTQ+ community-building.”
Amos (he/him), gay Singaporean American man:
“The chance for community to show kids and adults who might be questioning or being bullied for their gender identity or sexual orientation hat they matter, that there is a path forward for them, that they are not alone in this huge big confusing world and that if they need help, there are people out who will be able to help.“
Which AAPI/LGBTQ+ trailblazer inspires you the most?
From Sophie (she/they), lesbian, Filipino American woman:
“My mom. She’s always been really supportive of me! She encouraged me to express myself in any way I feel! She got me my first haircut, to cut off 10 inches of hair, and she bought me my first pride flag! And, she knew I was gay the minute I popped out of the womb. I find it hilarious!”
Kiki, (we/they), trans-masculine Samoan-Filipinx American person:
“Taffy Johnson, the founder and Executive Director of UTOPIA Washington inspires me the most. I am in awe of what she has built from the ground up and seeing the growth in both the organization and the community. Sheʻs such a strong matriarchal figure and her leadership and legacy is forging a real utopia. Taffy exudes mana and alofa.“
What are your hope for the next generation of AAPI/LGBTQ+ people growing up in the U.S.?
From Yuan (she/they), trans-feminine Chinese American person:
“I hope trans and queer API people will continue to live, care for one another, and fight to thrive, because this world needs us. For generations, we’ve been sidelined and invisibilized, even in our broader AAPI and queer and trans communities. All that time, trans and queer API people have lived at the forefront of many of the most urgent issues—from policing, to housing, to immigration, and more. I hope we use this opportunity to get more organized and more connected, to help win a world where we can all be safe.“
From Hoàng (he/him), gay Vietnamese American man:
“I hope we can win our battles now so our next generation of LGBTQ+ people doesn’t have to fight so hard to be accepted. I hope they find rest, abundance and be embraced, not just tolerated.”