Logo's new reality show Finding Prince Charming could have been a little more charming if the prince, Robert Sepulveda Jr., had some Asian suitors vying for his affection. The lack of Asian representation is especially disappointing since the show includes African-American and Latino bachelors among the 13 contestants -- gay Asian men are also looking for love.
We are constantly searching for our faces and voices in the media. Asian-Americans are the nation's fastest-growing minority group and we're a growing segment of the LGBT community. Yet LGBT Asian-Americans are often overlooked or marginalized. Finding Prince Charming is just the most recent example.
The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance has been fighting for more positive portrayals of LGBT Asian and Pacific Islanders in the media. There are many LGBT Asian actors, bachelors, and contestants waiting in the wings, but, sadly, only 6 percent of LGBTQ characters on television are Asian or Pacific Islander, according to GLAAD. That percentage is the lowest of any group and, what's worse, is the highest in over 10 years. We've got a long way to go.
An Asian-American contestant on Finding Prince Charming could have brought so much. Diversity and inclusion is more than simply having an Asian face to check the "Asian" box. An Asian-American contest could have brought certain values and perspectives to add to the richness of the contestants' experiences. Typical Asian-American values of family, honoring parents and elders, and a strict work ethic could have been have been themes on the show. Aren't these some of the values that we all want our Prince Charming to have?
Moreover, gay Asian men are sexy. Sure, there was a time when all Asian men in media were emasculated computer geeks or heavily accented foreign students. But today it's well settled that Asian men are beautiful, bodied, and often sought after. Let's not fetishize us but rather portray the full spectrum of our community.
It would have been nice if Logo took more affirmative actions to promote diversity that is inclusive of Asian-Americans. Maybe next time, I hope.
*Correction: After this post, one of the contestants, Brandon Kneefel, emailed the writer. He acknowledged the absence of casting Asians but noted that he is part Asian himself. His father is Indonesian (born in Java) and Polynesian. He is not Latino as many people assume. The writer acknowledges this error.
GLENN D. MAGPANTAY is the executive director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, a federation of LGBTQ Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander organizations. Contact him at email@example.com.