So instead of starting off the week with a specific movement, event, or action, I thought it would be neat to share this extensive timeline of Asian and Pacific Islander LGBT history. I think that a large part of activism is rooted in understanding one’s history of oppression and challenging normative history using counter narratives and revisionist history. The creation of this timeline is a testament to the resilience and longevity of LGBT API folks. Shout out to the bad-ass people at API Equality – Northern California for starting and contributing to this timeline*.
Some of my personal highlights:
- 1979: The Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (QAPA) of New England holds a firm seat in LGBTQ history in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1979 as Boston Asian Gay Men and Lesbians (BAGMAL), the organization was renamed the Alliance of Massachusetts Lesbians and Gay Men (AMALGM) in 1988. Today QAPA is the oldest LGBTQ Asian community organization in the United States. According to a newsletter (and cover photo) dated November 1987, members participated in the March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights.
- 1983: Asian lesbians protest Ollie’s “Oriental Night,” an evening where the Oakland lesbian bar’s employees wore “oriental” costumes and makeup.
- 1995: Bugis Street, a ground-breaking Hong Kong-Singapore movie is released, featuring LGBT relationships and full-frontal Asian male adult nudity.
- 2010: 1st Queer Southeast Asian Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota
The timeline could definitely be expanded so I would definitely urge G3S readers to contribute if they can.
~ Happy Tuesday, James (@semajaime)
*Apologies if other organizations or groups should be mentioned. I only know of APIENC since I interned with them.