Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-07-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  IDENTITY

Reaching OUT: Gay Asian Organizing
by David J. Keating
2005-01-01

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Pictured Karl Kimpo. Photo by Kirk Williamson

When Karl Kimpo moved to Chicago last year, the first thing he did was search out the local gay Asian and Pacific Islander group.

'I was looking forward to doing some community outreach work with GAPIC, Gay Asian Pacific Islanders of Chicago,' he said. 'But when I got here I discovered that the group no longer existed.'

In fact Kimpo, an HIV Project Coordinator with the Asian Health Coalition of Illinois, said he was shocked to learn that there was no community group for gay Asian and Pacific Islanders at all.

'There are other cities in the U.S. that are much smaller yet they have been able to sustain a queer Asian and Pacific Islander space and organization,' Kimpo said.

Although Chicago has a fairly large API population, ( 4.3 percent of Chicago is API compared with 3.6 percent nationally ) , it has no exclusively gay API organizations or social spaces, whereas cities such as New York and San Francisco have several gay API organizations and even bars which cater exclusively to gay APIs. [ There is Asians and Friends Chicago for Asians and their allies. ]

After feeling frustrated with the situation, Kimpo decided to team up with his friend David Amarathithada, another administrator in the HIV health field, to start a gay API group in Chicago.

'I was never too involved in Asian or queer culture, but Karl was heavily involved with both things when he was living in Ohio,' Amarathithada said. 'He sparked my interest and we started to talk about forming a group.'

Kimpo, who is of Philipino descent, said gay Asian Americans find themselves in a unique situation because they are a double minority He said they face difficulties that are unique to the Asian community.

'The family unit is very strong in a lot of Asian communities,' he said. 'There's a notion that you have to represent your family's reputation, which is a big contributing factor for a lot of gay Americans to stay in the closet.'

Amarathithada, who is of Laotian decent, agreed. 'Asian cultures are very communal in nature,' he said. 'There's such a strong emphasis on family and tradition, so it's hard to come out as an individual.'

On the other hand, Kimpo said that once gay APIs do come out they face discrimination and a lack of representation within the gay community.

'It's very difficult to fit in, because the gay community [ of those who are out of the closet ] is so predominantly Caucasian,' he said. 'Asians in general are starved for positive images of themselves in the media, and this is especially true of gay media.'

Kimpo also said being a gay Asian male can be difficult because many gay men, including Asian men, say they are only attracted to white men. 'A lot of guys will say 'I'm not attracted to Asian guys, but I'm not racist.' I remember times when I was young, looking into the mirror and thinking my nose would look better if it were shaped like my white friend's who lived down the street. Now, when I look back on those times, it's hard to say I wasn't subjecting myself to my own internal racism. I was ashamed of my own cultural features of my face,' he said.

Amarathithada said he felt setting up a gay API group was important because it would help gay API men counter stereotypes.

'Queer APIs are perceived as submissive or effeminate,' he said. 'We're often perceived as sex objects and not as thinking, breathing, educated queer API men. I think that we don't challenge others with this perception, and we sometimes feed into it. That's one reason why we wanted to start the queer API group, so we can erase this myth and challenge this sexual perception.'

The group's first meeting was held in October at Soul Café in Edgewater. Around 20 people attended and Amarathithada said he was surprised by the high turnout.

'I honestly thought we would get a lot less, just because I didn't know how big of a queer Asian community there was in Chicago,' he said.

Kimpo, however, said he was not surprised. 'Chicago has been without a gay API group since 1998,' he said. 'Chicago has reached a critical mass of gay and lesbian APIs, and we saw that in the high turnout. We had a former member of GAPIC there, the New York co-chair of GAPINY [ Gay Asian and Pacific Islanders of New York ) , and a former member of AQUA D.C. [ Asian Queers United for Action, based in Washington, D.C. ] .'

I Li Hsiao, who moved to Chicago from Taiwan in 1980, attended the first meeting and was excited by the group's mission. 'I think it's important because gay Asian people need to know that there are other queer Asians out there,' he said. 'It's also important when they come out to their parents, because they can say 'look, there are other Asian people who are queer.''

Amarathithada said he knows that there is a great deal of work ahead.

'It's very challenging to try to organize APIs because we don't have one common theme, like a queer Black group would have because of their race, or a queer Hispanic group would have because of language. We don't have a defined culture, language or heritage, because we all come from different backgrounds.'

The group will soon have a mission statement, choose an executive board, and come up with a name. Anyone interested in learning more about the group should e-mail Opmik75@gmail.com .


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Colin Bird-Martinez, openly gay man, runs for 31st Ward Alderman 2018-07-18
NATIONAL Calif. hate crimes, trans measure, gay mayor, Stonewall Inn 2018-07-17
NUNN ON ONE TV Gay psychic Thomas John aims to take your mind on a trip 2018-07-15
Edgewater CVS racial incident involved gay Republican candidate 2018-07-15
Gay Albion College alumni on new project, other endeavors 2018-07-08
Gay Games attendees from Chicago set uniforms 2018-07-08
The legacy continues, Gay Games running Aug. 4-12 in Paris 2018-07-04
PASSAGES Gay-rights pioneer Dick Leitsch dies at 83 2018-06-27
With Historic Primary Win Jared Polis On Track to Be First Openly Gay Man Elected Governor 2018-06-26
Raoul for AG attacks opponent on anti-gay views 2018-06-25
BOOKS Roxane Gay talks sexual violence, writing advice in Chicago visit 2018-06-24
SAVOR Homestead on the Roof; Big Gay Ice Cream at Nico 2018-06-24
Big Gay Ice Cream offering treats for Pride Weekend 2018-06-23
Gay boxer reigns over Puerto Rican parade 2018-06-20
Gay commissioner candidate holds Pride fundraiser 2018-06-20
BOOKS New 'Fairy Town' book examines Chicago's pre-WWII gay life 2018-06-18
LGBTQ Victory Fund backs gay Dem for Cook County Commissioner 2018-06-11
Bermuda court rejects gay-marriage ban 2018-06-06
GayCo's 'Party' June 22-23 2018-06-06
WORLD Nike controversy, gay Polish mayor, largest Pride in world 2018-06-05
James E. Snyder becomes first openly gay president of Illinois Judges Association 2018-06-01
History UnErased, Making Gay History, working to bring back LGBTQ people, feats 2018-05-30
NATIONAL Grimm win, conversion therapy, Gallup, gay bar news 2018-05-29
DINING MJ's patio, 'Big Gay Brunch,' Mexique closes 2018-05-29
Gay Catholic Group calls on Pope to Reverse Comments on Gay Applicants to Priesthood 2018-05-29
WORLD Gay artist, Pope Francis, OutRight gala 2018-05-22
Pope's Words to Gay Survivor of Sexual Abuse Have Dogma-Transforming Ramifications 2018-05-21
LGBTQ comedy company GayCo Productions to present P.ride C.omedy P.arty 2018-05-20
Local dealership settles anti-gay discrimination suit 2018-05-16
Gay man severely injured in attack/robbery 2018-05-09
THEATER REVIEW Striking Out (A Gay Baseball Musical) 2018-05-02
AUTOS That's so gay: 2018 Subaru Outback is the lesbian classic everyone wants 2018-04-25
Chicago's i2i, Asian Pacific Islander Pride join amicus brief to Supreme Court 2018-04-25
NATIONAL Trans troops, Adam Rippon, Asian groups, bar controversy 2018-04-24
'Gay Is Good' exhibit opens at Gerber/Hart 2018-04-23
"Bed 26" tells of oppression faced by refugees in America through the story of a gay man 2018-04-22
"Striking Out: A Gay Baseball Musical" through June 16 2018-04-22
PASSAGES South Asian LGBTQ community organizer Deepa Patel dies 2018-04-20
NUNN ON ONE TV Ross Marquand on his gay character in 'The Walking Dead' 2018-04-17
WORLD Anti-gay law, Middle East report, serial killer 2018-04-17
 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.