Negotiating Social Stigma Among Gay Asian Men
AbstractIt has long been argued that stereotypes have led many gay Asian men to have negative feelings about themselves and other gay Asians, to the idealization of white men as potential partners, hostility towards other gay Asians, internalization of the stereotypes as passive and submissive, and being sexually objectified by some white men. To counter the effects of the stereotypes, critics and theorists of the gay Asian experience suggest increasing the visibility of Asian role models in the gay community, developing a strong sense of self-identity by choosing Asian men as potential partners, and encouraging involvement with the mainstream gay community. In contrast, we explore resistance to the stereotypes at a personal level, using narratives obtained through a series of interviews to analyze the ways in which gay Asian men negotiate and (re)frame the social stigma associated with their bodies and desire for white men. We argue that gay Asian men do not simply accept the negative stereotypes imposed by the dominant culture; rather, they actively resist and continuously reconstruct meanings about their bodies and desires.