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 2019-10-02
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Gay Asian actor Lee Doud speaks on anti-Asian bias
by Liz Baudler

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Racial bias fails to surprise Asian-American actor Lee Doud. Speaking with professor Mark Martell in front of a small crowd at the University of Illinois at Chicago's ( UIC's ) Richard J. Daley Library at an event Martell entitled "No Fats, No Femmes, No Asians: Unpacking the Anti-Asian Bias in the Modern Dating World," Doud outlined the ways in which anti-Asian sentiment manifests both professionally in his life as actor, and personally on gay apps like Grindr and in real-life encounters.

Born in Hong Kong to a Chinese mother and white father, Doud grew up outside San Francisco. With Sean Connery in the film From Russia With Love as inspiration, he used to march around the house pretending to be James Bond. ( In fact, Doud aspires to make Bond both Asian and gay. ) Dedicated to high school theater, he went to UCLA for acting, although his mother initially wished he'd made a more conventional choice.

"I guess I was just really rebellious," Doud said about convincing his mother than acting was his chosen career. He said she eventually grew to respect his commitment and professionalism, particularly when he managed to get into UCLA despite mediocre grades, and had an agent a year before he graduated.

Doud's breakout role came in the show Californication, and he currently plays Jeff, the Asian best friend of main character Nate in the gay-focused web series I'm Fine. According to Doud, show creator Brandon Kirby had been disappointed by Looking, the HBO series about gay men, which, despite its San Francisco setting, features very few characters of color. I'm Fine, by contrast, focuses on characters "on the fringe" and in addition to featuring POC ( people of color ) and queer characters, brings up topics like PrEP and open relationships.

"We didn't want to showcase the glitz and glam of LA," Doud explained.

Initially Doud had been worried about being relegated to an "Asian sidekick" role in I'm Fine. "I wanted Jeff to have more dimension to him," Doud said. "I wanted to tell his story honestly." In the second season, Doud said he got the chance to shape Jeff's story and address his race, though drawing on his own experiences for the show was "scary." In a viral clip from the show, a white date compliments Jeff by telling him "you're mixed, I would never even think of you as Asian," and Jeff swiftly ends the date in response.

"That date is an amalgamation of some experiences I've had in West Hollywood," Doud said. While he acknowledged that perhaps people don't often realize they're saying something insensitive, he agreed with Martell's quip that comments like the one in the clip are "compli-saults." "What am I supposed to do, bow and say thank you?" Doud joked.

That clip prompted the Advocate to ask for Doud for an editorial about the gay distaste for Asian men, which Doud both had great trepidation about and great difficulty in writing. His original first sentence, he recalled, was "I don't give a shit if you like me or not," but he quickly realized that approach was damaging.

"Rather than turning in a piece that was attacking anyone, I wanted to start a conversation," Doud said. The finished piece, entitled "The Gay Community's Fear and Loathing of Asian Men Must End" has been shared over 10,000 times since the beginning of February—and it brought about Doud's UIC appearance. Martell, who teaches a course on "Asian Americans in Pop Culture," tweeted at Doud after reading, and eventually arranged the visit, marking Doud's first time in Chicago.

Doud was open with Martell about his experiences as a Asian-American actor. "Asians are the most underrepresented minority on television by leaps and bounds," Doud said.

He explained that most roles for Asians are "generic." Producers won't often either pick a certain ethnicity—Japanese, Chinese, Korean—or they won't understand the differences between them.

Doud said he'd been asked to play a Korean in a film, and often gets called on for Vietnamese and even Latino roles. Accentless in real life, he's also been asked to have a "fresh off the boat" accent. He also pointed out that Asian actresses are still consistently confused for one another, and joked about creating a pamphlet with white faces that would explain how to differentiate between them—as a way of explaining that Asian faces have similar differences. "Maybe a lot of mistakes of identity occur because of few points of reference," Martell agreed.

For Doud, an issue in both acting and dating is the desexualization of Asian men. He pointed out that actors like Jackie Chan are more often considered comic relief, and in the rare instance where an Asian man is a romantic lead, the actual romance is often relegated to a mere kiss.

"Media representation translates into what people say are their sexual preferences," Doud said.

To illustrate the Asian experience on dating apps, Martell showed screenshots of Grindr and Tinder profiles where Asians were often explicitly singled out as undesirable, often in a vulgar way, or occasionally fetishized by the term "rice queen."

"This type of messaging isn't new," Martell added, showing historical photographs of signs enforcing Japanese, Chinese and Filipino discrimination.

Doud called the dating world phenomenon "sexual racism," and said that while having types is fine, it ceases to be so when types are based on what people believe or to what they have been exposed.

"You don't come out of the womb saying, 'I don't like Black people,'" Doud said.

He called the response to his words "humbling."

"It made it all worth it," he said about sharing his experiences. "It created a community."

facebook twitter pin it 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.


Gay News

Reeling Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival announces award winners 2019-10-11 - ( CHICAGO, IL - October 10, 2019 ) Reeling: the Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival announces the highly anticipated juried, audience, and AARP ...

Gay News

WORLD Kenyan magazine, Russian anti-LGBT ruling, Brazilian films 2019-10-08 - Pride Umbrella Kenya, a member organization of The Refugee Coalition of East Africa ( RefCEA ), announced the launch of QR Magazine, a ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer comic, 'Star Wars,' Nick Jonas, Rachel Maddow 2019-10-08 - Ian Aber—the queer award-winning, Atlanta based comedian known as a national finalist on the hit reality competition series StandUp NBC—released his first-ever studio ...

Gay News

LGBT HISTORY MONTH For celebrities, an off-screen journey to on-screen equality 2019-10-02 - ABC News correspondent Gio Benitez said that as a young reporter in Miami, he was inspired by the greats of television journalism: Peter ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Trans actor, 'Judy,' 'Concert for America,' Dolly Parton 2019-10-01 - Trans actor Brian Michael Smith was one of three casting announcements made ahead of Fox's 9-1-1 spinoff, Lone Star, which debuts in January, ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Ricky Martin, Tina Fey, Lee Daniels, Megan Fox 2019-09-24 - The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) will honor singer and actor Ricky Martin with the HRC National Visibility Award at HRC's 23rd ...

Gay News

Porter among those striking a pose at 2019 Emmys 2019-09-23 - Pose's Billy Porter made history the evening of Sept. 22 when he became the first openly gay Black actor to win the Emmy ...

Gay News

Sisters in Cinema launches fellowship for Black women filmmakers, LBTQ stories 2019-09-21 - Sisters in a SIC ) with support from Chicago Women's Foundation LBTQ Giving Council has awarded three first-time feature filmmakers with a $2,500 ...

Gay News

Black Alphabet film fest to honor Trans Awareness Week 2019-09-19 - Black Alphabet Film Festival returns for its seventh year, showcasing films that highlight and explore the LGBTQ and same-gender-loving ( SGL ) experience—and ...

Gay News

MOVIES A look at what's hitting the big screens this fall 2019-09-18 - Fall back into the movie theater after a summer that certainly had some lackluster moments, cinematically. We head into awards season and it ...


Copyright © 2019 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.







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      Post 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 publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.