Sunday, February 4, 2007

G.C., Chinese; Los Angeles, CA, 22

I grew up in LA, in an area that was very Asian. My high school was predominantly Asian, and there were a lot of “Asian thugs”. I was not that way, I turned heads, I was “the gay guy”. I never cared about producing a straight-acting image. It helped me become who I am today.

I came out when I was 16 years old. I was pretty young when I was active in the scene. This has definitely played a significant role in my experience. The stereotypes deemed on us didn’t only come from white men; they were internalized, and even enforced by other Asian men. I find these stereotypes very offensive. Once, on gay.com, I was bombarded with messages from older white men asking me if I needed “financial aid”, thus implying money in exchange for sexual favors. I’m sorry, but I am not a tool nor a plaything nor an object. I throw up whenever a guy comes up to me asking for “boy pussy”. It’s vulgar. It’s offensive. I am not the stereotypical smooth feminine Asian boy. I was at LA Pride once, and I was walking in the parade. This group of Christians protesting our march shouted to me “Bad Bad Buddha!” Apparently because I’m Asian, and I’m gay, I’m sinning against Buddha. It’s sad to say that these views of Asian men are still common today.

My white friends always talk about Tigerheat. All the white boys are out on Thursday nights, while all the Asian boys were at home waiting for GAMeboi on Fridays. However, when my Asian friends and I go to Tigerheat, I notice many things. There definitely was an Asian corner. Even out on the smoking patio there was an Asian corner. What was so different about Buddha Lounge and Red Dragon was that those venues were spaces for white men to find Asian men. At Tigerheat, Asian men are never at the top of the list for men searching for men. We were ignored and stepped on. I’m not surprised, in a club full on guys who don’t find Asian men attractive, why would they be considerate? Stepping away from our Asian corner, it was like a foreign land.

GAMeboi is a place you can be you and have fun. This community is experiencing a movement. In the mainstream gay community, the gay Asian scene is always perceived in one category. We are ALL viewed as the femme bottom boys. The downe scene allows us to be ourselves and individuals, butch, femme, and all other respective roles. We have no need to push that stereotypical image. It’s empowering.

The word “verse” becomes so much more common among Asian men than it used to be. I once told a guy I was verse and he didn’t believe me. He replied “You’re verse? But you’re Asian?” Apparently white men don’t believe in Asians as versatile sexual partners.

What I love about this community is that we have moved past that. Experiencing stereotyping and facing them has made me realize my place in the fight for liberation. Liberation for this community and myself. I view downe as a community, as a group with common interests and goals striving for a similar cause.