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social sciences

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Asian/Pacific Islander Americans  
page: 1  2  3  

Manalansan reported that gay Filipino-American men in New York do not identify as Asian or even Pacific Islander. He sees little likelihood of pan-ethnicity becoming salient. Filipinos who are socialized into gay culture in the United States tend to reject idioms of effeminacy (traditional, gender-stratified baklaí homosexuality) as archaic and/or lower class, while those whose early homosexual experience was in the Philippines tend to retain it. He also found class and language differences to be less salient to gay Filipinos in the United States than in the Philippines.

Carrier, Nguyen, and Su located Vietnamese gay networks in Southern California and learned something about Vietnamese men who have sex with men but are not integrated into those social and sexual networks.

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They found "one 'large' network of recently arrived homosexual Vietnamese men who socialize in a cafe located in the major Little Saigon mall" in Garden Grove. Information for newcomers about the homosexual world of Little Saigon and about relatively well-off older Vietnamese men who prefer younger Vietnamese men as sex partners moved through this network. Such "patrons" throw parties and may provide jobs that are contingent on sexual complaisance.

In addition to this scene, Carrier et al. found two groups of "moderately acculturated young men," one gathering at the central Los Angeles house of a gay couple in their late 20s, the other gathering at the house in southern Orange County of a Vietnamese gay man in his late 40s.

Most of those in these networks arrived in the United States before or around puberty. Most of their sexual partners have been (and continue to be) Anglo or Latino, though they gather to socialize where they can speak Vietnamese with gay Vietnamese friends. Some spoke of moving from a "White phase" to a "Vietnamese phase" in their sexual relationships, but the network "is more social in its orientation than sexual."

There are also ethnic "loners" who have Anglo male sexual partners but who do not participate in friendship circles or institutions of the gay world or of the Vietnamese-American enclave in Orange County.

The gay Vietnamese interviewed by Carrier et al. reported the Vietnamese-American community is unable to conceive that a Vietnamese could be gay and also as believing that Vietnamese men could be involved in homosexual activity only if seduced by white perverts or if they are lai caÌ (half-man, half-woman). Formation of a Vietnamese chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG) in 1991 and its subsequent visibility at the annual Tet Fairs in Little Saigon have begun to challenge this invisibility, however.


The ratio of what is known to what is unknown about GAPIs is even lower than for glbtq of other American ethnicities. A great deal more research is needed to sort out differences among GAPI ethnicities, between immigrant and American-born GAPIs, between GAPIs in West Coast cities with large API populations and those located where there are small API populations, and between GAPIs and other glbtq Americans.

Those who are glbtq of every ethnic group overestimate the ease of acceptance of living and loving the same sex in other groups. The fear of losing families is general, though it has a special edge for those working in family businesses and/or in ethnic enclaves. Because of the small size and likely unrepresentativeness of GAPI samples in research published so far, none of the generalizations discussed herein should be considered well-established facts, even about GAPI men, about whom more has been written than about GAPI women.

Stephen O. Murray

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literature >> Overview:  Asian American Literature

Asian American gays and lesbians voice richly multiple and diverse identities as they assert sexual autonomy in the face of stereotyping, homophobia, and racism.

arts >> Wong, B. D.

Asian-American actor B. D. Wong came to prominence with his extraordinary performance in M. Butterfly and has since established himself as a talented character actor in film and television and as a champion of glbtq causes.

arts >> Wu, Alice

Filmmaker Alice Wu broke ground with her first feature-length motion picture, Saving Face (2004), a multi-generational portrait of Chinese-American women who transgress traditional sexual taboos.


Carrier, Joseph M., Bang Nguyen, and Sammy Su. "Vietnamese American Sexual Behaviors and HIV infection." Journal of Sex Research 29 (1992): 547-60.

Chan, Connie S. "Issue of Identity Development among Asian-American Lesbians and Gay Men." Journal of Counseling and Development 68 (1989): 16-20.

Cho, Song. Rice: Explorations into Gay Asian Culture + Politics. Toronto: Queer Press, 1998.

Duazo, Dino. "Coming out to Family." Lavender Godzilla 2.6 (1989): 6-7.

Eng, David L. Racial Castration: Managing Masculinity in Asian America. Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press, 2001

Espiritu, Yen Le. Asian American Panethnicity: Bridging Institutions and Identities. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993.

Fung, Richard. "Looking for My Penis." Asian American Sexualities. Russell Leong, ed. New York: Routledge, 1996. 181-98.

Hom, Alice Y. "Stories from the Homefront: Perspectives of Asian American Parents with Lesbian Daughters and Gay Sons." Amerasia 20 (1994): 19-32.

________, and Ming-Yuen S. Ma. "Premature Gestures: A Speculative Dialogue on Asian Pacific Islander Lesbian and Gay Writing." Journal of Homosexuality 26.2/3 (1993): 21-51.

Khan, Badruddin. Sex, Longing, and Not Belonging: A Gay Muslim Journey. Bangkok: Floating Lotus, 1997.

Lee, Jee Yeun. "Why Suzie Wong Is Not a Lesbian." Queer Studies. Brett Beemyn and M. Eliason, eds. New York: New York University Press, 1997. 115-32.

Manalansan, Martin F., IV. Global Divas: Gay Filipinos in Diaspora. Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press, 2003.

Mattos, Francisco, ed. "Yellow Trash: Racism among GAPIs: A Round-table Talk." Lavender Godzilla 4.2 (1991): 13-20.

Murray, Stephen O. American Gay. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

________. "Representations of Desire in Some Recent Gay Asian-American Writings." Journal of Homosexuality 45.1 (2003): 111-142.

Roy, Sandip. "Curry Queens and Other Spices." Q & A: Queer Asian American. David L. Eng and Alice Y. Hom, eds. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998. 256-61.

Shi, Nicholas. "Footsteps in My Father's Path." Lavender Godilla 6 (1993): 6-9.

Tagaki, Dana. "Maiden Voyage: Excursion into Sexuality and Identity Politics in Asian America." Amerasia 20 (1994): 1-17.

Tan, Joel Barraquiel. "In His Arms." Q & A: Queer Asian American. David L. Eng and Alice Y. Hom, eds. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 1998. 265-69.

Wat, Eric. Making of a Gay Asian Community: An Oral History of Pre-AIDS Los Angeles. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

________. "Preserving the Paradox: Stories from a gay-loh." Amerasia 20 (1996): 149-160.

Wong, Sau-ling C., and Jeffrey J. Santa Ana. "Gender and Sexuality in Asian American Literature." Signs 25 (1999): 171-226.

Wooden, Wayne S., Harvey Kawasaki, and Raymond Mayeda. "Identity Maintenance of Japanese-American Gays." Alternative Lifestyle 6 (1983): 236-43.

Yu, Henry. Thinking Orientals: Migration, Contact, and Exoticism in Modern America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Zia, Helen. Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2001.

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays


    Citation Information
    Author: Murray, Stephen O.  
    Entry Title: Asian/Pacific Islander Americans  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated December 29, 2004  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
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    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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