Asians Gay and Proud (1980)

The Asianadian v. 2. N 3
Winter 1979-80, p.30.

ASIANS: GAY & PROUD by Richard Fung

Non-white gay and lesbians face a double-edged sword: the racism of the general society as filtered into the gay community and the sometimes-vicious sexism and homophobia of our own "ethnic" communities. These two factors alone have kept us isolated. The latter has prevented many from participating fully in our own community or if we do, it enforces a secretiveness that leads to cultural schizophrenia.

To overcome these barriers non-white lesbians and gay men have organized. "When will the Ignorance End?" was the theme of the first National Third World Gay Conference held in Washington, D.C., October 12 to 15. Sponsored by the National Coalition of Black Gays, it brought together 627 men and women to talk, sing, dance, to learn from each other, to discover our history, and to organize.

An Asian caucus was formed by lesbians and gay men with Japanese, Indonesian, Indian, Chinese, Malaysian and Filipino backgrounds from the US, Canada and the Caribbean.

The workshop themes included Immigration, Asian American gay research, children of interracial marriage, social/sexual revolution (focus on Cuba), Chicano identity, gays in the black family and others.

The conference coincided with the National March on Washington for lesbian and gay Rights and on Sunday October 14, about 200 delegates marched from the conference site at Howard University through the black community and Chinatown to meet the mammoth demonstration.

The Asians, marching for the first time as a group, followed the Native American contingent and preceded the Latin Americans.

At the 200,000 strong rally, Asian spokeswoman Noshika Cornell, reminded the crowd of America's bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and it's ruthless exploits in South East Asia. She also cautioned lesbians and gay men against fighting one form of oppression while perpetrating another.

For Asian gays, this Conference was very important for setting up a network of information and political support, for giving us the energy to struggle in our communities and for doing all this in the context of a third world movement.