This is for a younger me, and every kid coming of age gay and Asian.
It’s upsetting. It’s the year 2017 and Asian men are still denied sexual agency, excluded and erased from representations of beauty and masculinity, and pigeonholed into stereotypes and sexual racism. Demographic change will certainly help change that, but the genuine uplifting of EFNIK* gay men must accompany the deconstruction of conscious and subconscious idealization of white bodies. That is, we cannot fully see ourselves as equal until we bury these internalized notions that white = superior, that white = beauty. The lack of representation for Asian men of all ethnicities and origins in mainstream media creates an order where racist jokes and cruel assumptions are voiced by people who aren’t us, further fuelling the perception of our “undesirability.”
And because of that, I feel a responsibility to project a positive image for all Asian men, to uplift those who aren’t as confident, or who may even be embarrassed to be themselves. I feel a responsibility to present a sexy, confident, clever, outgoing, and joyful self. Because of and in spite of the stereotypes that others have of Asian men, it is necessary that we work to shatter this false, bastardized definition of “Asian” by presenting ourselves as whole, unfiltered human beings.
Whether or not the larger society finds “Gaysians” attractive, ugly, effeminate, sexless, meek, irrelevant, laughable, invisible, strictly bottoms (try again), small dicked (lol, peep Tumblr, or have sex once in awhile), and so forth, we stunt regardless. We walk over whatever the hell society thinks we are. We slay, we are Asian; Slaysians we are.
Almost every day, as Asian men we know we will meet the “no fats, no femmes, no Asians” approach. But again, in the face of this we have to exhibit a sacred acceptance and radiant self love of who we are--confident, sexy, strong, fuck free and free to fuck whomever we please (with consent of course).
I take pride in my unique Asian beauty and culture and the blessing of even being so connected to a culture at all. So think about this: with one glance, a smile, the curve of our stone-dark eyes, shape of our coral lips, the contrast of our jet black hair against our range of cream gold winter skin to deeper shades of summer brown, to be Asian is to be the antithesis of plain.
We have no choice but to be an antidote to the shallow, discriminatory “community” where white figures are glorified and Asian bodies are reviled. Collectively we are a monsoon cloud of expression, sex, charm, and honesty. Our winds carry a warrior song of defiance and healing. They hear our call from Mongolia, Myanmar, and down to Malaysia. Rains of inner peace soak and soothe the roots of hurt boys from Japan to Iran. Collect tea leaves of forests we roam, but cherish, don’t blemish, the hearts of our home. Children of the sun running along the equator, I await your brightest rays to meet mine. Awaken. Divine.
Though we live to be forces of nature, we are occasionally haunted by moments of doubt. “He’s probably not into Asians, so why risk the effort or possibly getting hurt?” When you’re conditioned to believe that white is best, it takes a toll on your self esteem and image, especially when you’re often denied, when you’re mocked as “Asiiiaaaan!” is worked to an insult. As confident as I am, I bare no permanent immunity to streams of dejection. The remedy lies in our own ability to rise up against the places that hold no room for us. That is, to survive and thrive, we must create our own rules and write ourselves as the protagonists.
Underneath my personal brand of Asiatic ferocity, the truth is I’ve unlocked myself and found my confidence because of what I’ve heard all my life. Though I no longer allow words and discrimination to personally affect me, degenerate mindsets will absolutely affect the next generation of gay kids, and I’m here for them. When I entered this world at 19, I was conditioned to embody the notion that I am less than; no one deserves this. If only our bodies reflected our words. Since then, I’ve thankfully come into my own—unapologetically, in your face, 1,000% me. All rice, all spice, yes we iced up. Ain’t you ever seen an Asian be a bad b****?
This is my love letter and open call to every Asian out there to get your blessed life and slay over every single person in earshot and eyesight by cultivating inner confidence and true happiness. Be kind to yourself and generous with your methods of self care. Work on your health, get your money, live your fullest lives and ask out any boy you fancy. For there is a satisfying power to feeling sexy in your own skin, even when no one around you knows what you know. And I believe in my powers now more than ever, so my purpose is this: to bring light and laughter to the lives of everyone I meet, igniting bombs of self love for every Slaysian in the making and on their way.
*EFNIK: an LGBTQ Person of Color
Send questions and comments on this story to firstname.lastname@example.org.