Commentary: DisOrienting Encounters
As a person of color, I have never felt compelled to write a piece regarding race or being various shades of brown. Largely in part because while I am Filipino, I never felt my race ever gave me clout or the responsibility to talk about race. And in the event that I did talk about race, I did not want to come off as a gesture of complaining about the perils of racism and identifying my marginalization in society. Nevertheless, I notice there is near to no visibility of queer Asian men with which one can identify. I can relate to many life experiences our writers discuss and share insight our readers find solace in. But if coming out of the closet wasn’t hard enough, being Asian and queer is a different experience because it is influenced by imperialism, neocolonialism, classism and racism.
Being queer to me has been much of an identifier and central in my life as Asian. When I describe myself, I identify as queer and then Filipino. But the Filipino doesn’t fall too far behind. While I understand what male sexuality is because of my seat as a queer male, I am privy to understanding male sexuality better than women because, hell, I am a man who sleeps with other men. Who better to discuss male sexuality than queer men. But being queer AND Asian, I am at an intersection which yields two ENTIRELY different and separate experiences that signal discrimination on two fronts.
In instances where I can hide my sexuality in order to avoid being discriminated against my love for men, I can’t hide my Asian-ness. In moments when I am in my culture, I am branded as something incomplete because I haven’t shared my life with a woman. Combine the two, I have to combat the docile bottom Asian boy who searches to be with a white male. There aren’t too many social media sites that cater to this particular demographic that isin’t a porn site or a dating service. Neither are there healthy and positive images of queer Asian individuals that can debunk servile Asian boy stereotype and model minority myth.
Over the past few weeks of soul searching whether or not I should write this piece, the need to discuss these issues grew more important with time. The result of it all is on your screen. I have made the decision to dedicate the next few postings on TNG to exploring the experience of queer and Asian. What better of place to explore it?
Being queer and Asian affects more than just fucking guys. It affects entire life experiences. It illuminates what it means to be racialized and subsequently marginalized not only within society but doubly within queer society. Steering away from over glossed and simplified narratives of being Asian, I make the effort to write about this identity not to make it “the model”, “unique” or “exceptional”. Rather, it is a way for everyone to feel empowered in dialogue and shared experiences. “DisOrienting Encounters” is not just about being queer and Asian but the disorienting experiences of realizing one’s difference and uniqueness within society. It is a way to feel empowered through sharing stories when stories are so rarely heard these days.
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