HRC is proud to honor Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and celebrate the many advocates and allies who have driven our movement forward at the intersections of LGBTQ experiences and Asian American and Pacific Islander (API) identities.
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month became a national weekly observance in 1979, scheduled to coincide with anniversaries of the completion of the transcontinental railroad -- built largely by Chinese immigrants -- and the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the U.S. In 1992 the observance became a permanently designated month to celebrate API communities.
“Even in the face of discrimination, exclusion and other setbacks, API Americans share a longstanding history of resilience and pride,” said Mark Lee, HRC Senior Writer, Public Education & Research. “Nowhere is this more apparent than in the myriad stories and contributions of LGBTQ APIs and our allies, whom we celebrate and honor this month.”
Artists and writers including June Millington, Parvez Sharma, Alexander Wang, Jose Antonio Vargas, Alok Vaid-Menon, Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla, Helen Zia and Kit Yan create change through sharing our stories, inspiring others who may not always see themselves reflected in media to do the same.
Athletes like Esera Tuaolo, Amazin LeThi and Julie Chu fight for equality both inside and outside the sports arena.
Politicians including Mark Takano, Stephanie Murphy, Judy Chu, Kamala Harris, Mike Honda, Ted Lieu and Tammy Duckworth fight tirelessly for equality from the local to federal level of our government.
Celebrities from Margaret Cho, Bryan Chan, Alec Mapa and George Takei, to Rex Lee, Jenny Shimizu, Maulik Pancholy, BD Wong and Gia Gunn live proudly, openly and authentically, inspiring others to live their truth and serving as role models for API youth.
Advocates like Geena Rocero, Glenn Magpantay, Mia Frances Yamamoto, Margaret Chung, Karina Samala, Sasanka Jinadasa, Pabitra Benjamin, Mohan Sundararaj, Jim Toy, Pauline Park, Ben de Guzman, Urooj Arshad, Cecilia Chung, Dan Choi, Shiva Subbaraman and Faisal Alam challenge us to question the bias, discrimination and prejudice that disproportionately affects LGBTQ people of color in America.
HRC stands committed to promoting racial diversity within the LGBTQ movement and to fighting bias and discrimination in all forms, including many of the unique challenges facing LGBTQ communities of color.
For more information about life at the intersections of API and LGBTQ identities, check out these HRC resources: “Being Asian/Pacific Islander and LGBTQ: An Introduction;” “Society and Coming Out Issues for Asian Pacific Americans;” and "Religion and Coming Out Issues for Asian Pacific Americans."
*HRC will continue to update this post throughout Asian Pacific American Heritage Month as we celebrate the API community.