Don’t label me a self-hater

the-lingonberry:

The other day an ex of mine messaged me with a photo of the Dairy Queen corporate logo. His caption was “You should get a t-shirt with this on it. Might save you some time at the gay clubs.“ 

I should clarify that this ex of mine and I are on friendly, if not close, terms. So I knew that he meant it as a joke of sorts, but it still rubbed me the wrong way. For me, terms like rice queen, bean queen, and dairy queen imply an exclusionary approach to seeking sexual and romantic partners, in which ethnicity is the primary basis by which you choose to pursue someone or not. To label me as a dairy queen is to insinuate that I actively choose to only date white men and refuse to date fellow Asians, that I fetishize white men in a way that skews my ability to appreciate men of all colors equally. In other words, it labels me as someone who sees whiteness as fundamentally more attractive than being Asian. Thus the dairy queen gaysian becomes a self-hater.

An increasingly vocal segment of the gaysian community is celebrating Asian-Asian pairings and distancing itself from interracial dating altogether. I understand where the sticky rice perspective about affirmation and self-love is coming from. Asian men are systematically emasculated in popular culture. For the most part, we are not portrayed as sexually desirable. Jokes about our supposed dick size are routine. It’s about time gaysians celebrate ourselves and recognize the beauty in each other.

But I want to push back a bit about this idea that Asian men who primarily date outside their race are self-hating or are simply victims of the mainstream media that portrays white men as the pinnacle of attractiveness. The common reasoning is that Asian guys who mainly date white men (like myself) are operating under the belief that white men are more attractive simply because they are white. Thus, we date white men who are not as attractive as we are because we are more fixated on their whiteness than anything else. We are blinded by whiteness.

This is a bit insulting. It ignores the reality that oftentimes I am aware that I am as equally attractive as my white partner, if not more so in many people’s eyes. It ignores the very strong, emotional bonds I have forged with some of my white boyfriends, the connections that extend way beyond simple differences in phenotype or cultural upbringing. It ignores that some physical qualities I find most attractive, like a hairy chest, are more likely to be found among men of European and Middle Eastern descent. It ignores that it’s possible to simultaneously be a proud Asian, to be a politically-conscious Asian American and to be dating non-Asians at the same time. I am not betraying myself by dating outside my race. 

It would be another matter if I was not attracted to other Asians or refused to date Asians on principle. In those cases, yes, that does seem a bit self-hating. But I am attracted to tons of Asian men, I see them every day. And I would be more than willing to date a fellow gaysian. I actually think it’s overdue, especially since I am in the Bay Area now. But for now yes, the reality is that most of my dating history is full of white men. And no, I do not want that Dairy Queen shirt. 

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