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ASIAN/PACIFIC
 

Huff Post: Intimate Look at Queer Life in Japan

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance

Visibility Project: Asian Pride

United Nations: Being LGBTQ in Asia

HRC: Being Asian Pacific Islander and LGBTQ


Coming Out as LGBTQ and Asian-Pacific


Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) come from dozens of different countries, making that population one of the most diverse communities in America. Because of the diverse cultural backgrounds, histories, and languages of APAs, there is no universal coming out experience for all LGBTQ APAs, but LGBTQ APAs still share some similar challenges and experiences during the coming out process.

 

Family - Coming out to family is an enormous challenge. Many fear rejection, disappointing their parents or being seen as sullying the family name. The subject of LGBTQ issues is often treated with silence, which can feel like rejection. Not unusual for a LGBTQ APAs to be out in every aspect of life, except to family. When parents are aware of a child's sexual orientation or gender identity, that information is often hidden from family friends.
 

 

GLAAD: Honoring LGBTQ Asian Americans

GLAAD: LGBTQ Asian Pacific Islander Resource Kit

CNN: The Problem with Being Gay in South Korea

Letter to Queer Asian Americans

 

Religion - There are traditional connections among family, culture, and religion within the community. The interconnectedness of culture and religion means that any homophobia related to faith can have a devastating effect. Experiences with religion vary greatly depending on the religion practiced by a particular family, individual, or region. Some religions such as Hinduism are fairly accepting, while other like Catholicism and Islam can be less accepting.

Society - Coming out experiences are often intensified by a lack of visibility, racism, and language barriers. There is still a lack of visibility of APAs within LGBTQ groups, publications, and media sources. There is a lack of positive images of LGBTQ APAs in popular entertainment and media. APAs can face racism within the LGBTQ community, sometimes as overt discrimination and other times as the lack representation.

[Source: Coming Out for Asian Pacific Americans, printed by the Human Rights Campaign]

 

 

Challenges of LGBTQ Asian Pacific Islanders

 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Asian Pacific Islanders (API) are minorities within a minority. Although the media are covering the lives, stories and issues of LGBTQ people more frequently, and often in a more fair, accurate and balanced manner, repeatedly API LGBTQ voices, perspectives and opinions are left out of the picture. Within the "mainstream" LGBTQ community, Asian Pacific Islanders can feel invisible since images in LGBTQ publications are primarily white. Furthermore when APIs are represented, they are presented stereotypical, exoticized or as the "china doll", which reinforces stereotypes of APIs being silent, demure and sexual objects.

 

API LGBTQ Community in San Francisco

Wikipedia: LGBTQ Americans of Asian Decent

HRC: Religion and Coming Out Issues for Asian Pacific Americans

Williams Institute Report: Demographics of LGBTQ Asian Pacific Islanders

HRC: Society and Coming Out Issues for Asian Pacific Americans

Taiwan Makes History as First Asian Nation to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

 

Demographics of LGBTQ Asian Pacific Americans

 

According to the Williams Institute, at the UCLA School of Law, there is an estimated 324,600 LGBTQ API adults in the US.  There are 32,931 API individuals in same-sex couples in the US. 25% of API same-sex couples are raising children. LGBTQ API adults tend to live in areas where there are higher proportions of API individuals, as opposed to areas with higher proportions of the broader LGBTQ population.

 

 

LGBTQ Rights in Japan

 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer persons in Japan may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBTQ persons. Same-sex sexual activity was legalized in 1880 after the installation of the Napoleonic Code and the age of consent is currently equalized. Same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are ineligible for the legal protections available to opposite-sex couples. Japanese culture and major religions originated in and imported to Japan do not have a history of hostility towards homosexuality, and a majority of Japanese citizens are reportedly in favor of accepting homosexuality, with a recent poll indicating that 54 percent agreed that homosexuality should be accepted by society while 36 percent disagreed, with a large age gap. Although many political parties have not openly supported or opposed LGBTQ rights, there are several openly LGBTQ politicians joined in office. A law allowing transgender individuals to change their legal gender post-sex reassignment surgery was passed in 2002. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is banned in certain cities.

 

 

Marriage Equality in Taiwan

 

On May 24, 2017, Taiwan’s constitutional court declared that same-sex couples have the right to legally marry, the first such ruling in Asia, sparking celebration by activists who have been campaigning for the right for years.


 

The court, known as the Judicial Yuan, said current marriage laws were “in violation of both the people’s freedom of marriage and the people’s right to equality”, and it gave two years for legal amendments to allow same-sex marriage.  “If relevant laws are not amended or enacted within the said two years, two persons of the same sex who intend to create the said permanent union shall be allowed to have their marriage registration effectuated,” the court said.

Hundreds of supporters of same-sex marriage gathered in the street next to the island’s parliament to celebrate the decision, holding colorful umbrellas to ward off a drizzle. “This ruling has made me very happy,” said Chi Chia-wei, a veteran gay rights activist who had petitioned the court to take up the issue.  The ruling clearing the way for same-sex marriage is the first in Asia, where socially conservative attitudes largely hold sway.

 

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance

United Nations: Being LGBTQ in Asia

HRC: Being Asian Pacific Islander and LGBTQ

Williams Institute Report: Demographics of LGBTQ Asian Pacific Islanders

Taiwan Makes History as First Asian Nation to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

 

LGBTQ Culture in China

 

LGBTQ identities and communities have expanded in Mainland China since the 1980s as a result of resurfacing dialogue about and engagement with queer identities in the public domain. Since the 1990s, the preferred term for people of diverse sexuality, sex and gender is tongzhi. While lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer culture remains largely underground, there are a plethora of gay cruising zones and often unadvertised gay bars, restaurants and discos spread across the country. The recent and escalating proliferation of gay identity in Mainland China is most significantly signaled by its recognition in mainstream media despite China's media censorship. There are also many gay websites and LGBTQ organizations which help organize gay rights' campaigns, AIDS prevention efforts, film festivals and pride parades.  Public sentiment on homosexuality in China is in limbo. While it is not outright condemned, neither is it fully accepted as being part of the social norm.

The influence of Western gay and lesbian culture on China's culture is complex. While Western ideas and conceptions of gayness have begun to permeate the Chinese gay and lesbian identity, some Chinese gay and lesbian activists have pushed back against the mainstream politics of asserting one's own identity and pushing for social change due to its disruption of family ties and social harmony.  Most of the exposure to Western gay and lesbian culture is through the internet or the media, but this exposure is limited—mainstream symbols of gay and lesbian culture (such as the rainbow flag) are not widely recognizable in China.

 



In 2009 a male couple held a symbolic wedding in public, and China Daily took the photo of the two men in a passionate embrace across its pages. Other symbolic gay and lesbian weddings have been held across the country and have been covered positively by the Chinese media.

In 2012, Luo Hongling, a university professor, committed suicide because she knew her husband was a gay man. She alleged their marriage was just a lie since the man could not admit he was gay to his parents. Luo was considered a "homowife," local slang for a woman married to a homosexual male, akin to the English term "beard".

In 2016, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television banned images of homosexuals on television.

Adult, consensual and non-commercial homosexuality has been legal in China since 1997, when the national penal code was revised. Homosexuality was removed from the Ministry of Health's list of mental illnesses in 2001 and the public health campaign against HIV/AIDS pandemic does include education for men who have sex with men. Officially, overt police enforcement against gay people is restricted to gay people engaging in sex acts in public or prostitution, which are also illegal for heterosexuals.

However, despite these changes, no civil rights law exists to address discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Households headed by same-sex couples are not permitted to adopt children and do not have the same privileges as heterosexual married couples.

Research conducted by The Chinese Journal of Human Sexuality in 2014 showed that nearly 85 percent of the 921 respondents supported same-sex marriage, while about 2 percent of them oppose the idea, and 13 percent of them said "not sure."

On January 5, 2016, a court in Changsha, southern Hunan province, agreed to hear the lawsuit of 26-year-old Sun Wenlin filed in December 2015 against the Furong district civil affairs bureau for its June 2015 refusal of the right to register to marry his 36-year-old male partner, Hu Mingliang. On April 13, 2016, with hundreds of gay marriage supporters outside, the Changsha court ruled against Sun, who vowed to appeal, citing the importance of his case for LGBTQ progress in China. On May 17, 2016, Sun and Hu were married in a private ceremony in Changsha, expressing their intention to organize another 99 LGBTQ weddings across the country in order to normalize gay marriage in China.

 

 

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