Sunday, August 12, 2007

Gaysian Weekend, Part 1

Who's getting old? Some of us queer Asian American men are getting older, that's who! And better, too, I hope.
Yesterday, there was an inaugural meeting/seminar for “Gay and Bisexual Asian Pacific Islander Men and Aging," organized by the Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team (APAIT).
I was able to attend the last half hour, after getting out of work, and I'm glad I made the effort to catch that much.
The meeting was for "Asian Pacific Islander men age 45 and older." I'm only 41 but I was pleased to be invited--if the last twenty years passed by as quickly as they did, how much faster will the next twenty go by?
Even in only the last thirty minutes, I wanted to respond to so much that was being said. I deliberately kept my mouth shut, though, and just listened.
The meeting helped me to realize that a group like this is important so that a specific resource such as this can be directly accessible.

Did that make any sense?

Let's break it down to role models. Most of us know (other) older Asian and Asian American men, straight and gay. But how many of them are actually specific role models for Asian American men like myself?
I really only have one resource where I have met older Asian American men that I hope to emulate someday, and that is East West Players. I haven't been involved in a theatre production with them for six years now. Other than the Asian American men that I see in public, men that are complete strangers, I don't have any personal acquaintances to hold up as this particular role model, that is, Asian American and older and gay.

I'll repeat: my life has been pretty easy, for the most part. All of my battles have been previously fought for me. I have not really suffered extreme persecution for either my ethnic identity, my religion, or even my sexual identity.

I see a group like this as an opportunity to be a part of setting new precedents for future generations.

Thanks to Russell Leong and Gil Mangaoang for facilitating and speaking at the event. And thanks to APAIT for organizing this first meeting in their Aging Series.

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