Gaysians Are Beautiful
BY Advocate Contributors
March 03 2011 4:05 PM ET
COMMENTARY: “No Fats, Femmes, or Asians.” All too often, that ominous alert appears in profiles on gay dating and matching websites. It screams that the ideal of gay male attractiveness in America is not Asian nor “fat” nor “femme.” This warning is also the provocative title of a comedy show from Alec Mapa, the self-proclaimed “America’s Gaysian Sweetheart.”
Like Alec, I am also a gay and Asian double-minority. With the title No Fats, Femmes,, or Asians, Alec succinctly raises questions I have faced my entire adult life: Are Asian men unattractive to much of America’s gay community? Are we ostracized like others with “undesirable” traits? The truth is neither black nor white, but some shade of grey. Yet this much is clear: It’s time for gay men to embrace a more universal vision of beauty, one that appreciates every color of our rainbow.
Let’s begin by defining the problem: The gay world has a mixed relationship with race. Because LGBTs are a historically oppressed minority, you would think we easily accept other minority groups. But the gay male community, especially in its most elite social circles, is predominantly white. In part, that’s because racial minority groups still are not fully integrated into the queer sphere. It’s also because power in America (gay or straight) has historically been concentrated in white hands. But mostly, it’s because the men considered most attractive, by the most people in our country, are “all-American” white.
Gay men are not necessarily racist; instead, we are “lookist,” perhaps even more so than our straight counterparts. And the idealized vision of gay Adonis in the United States is white. Of course, some men are attracted to Asians, African-Americans, Hispanics, and other ethnicities. But Asians seem relegated to the bottom of the attractiveness spectrum. (My African-American friends might claim they deserve the title of worst-treated.) This is racial lookism.
I have no hard proof from surveys, statistics, or Gallup polls. This is just my opinion based upon personal experience as a gay man growing up in Los Angeles and travelling to major cities across the United States. It’s also supported by comments from my gaysian friends and observing how Asian men are treated in Gayville.
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