Author Archives: Maxwell
Way back when I was just coming out, I was confused. Of course there was the usual internalized confusion of “what,” but I was also struggling with the ever looming question of “how.” How was I going to come out to my parents and stare down their expectations. Coming out means coming to grips with that, and I hadn’t the faintest idea how to do it *and* keep my family intact. Yes, I had queer friends in my support network; they were all white; we went to Boston Pride together.
And that is where I was standing, 20 deep in the sea of people casually observing from the sidelines when the folx from QAPA marched by. One of them saw me, and aggressively pushed through the crowd in order to flyer me. It was the only time I enjoyed being racially profiled.
Seeing them frolic down the street was the very definition of “Pride.” They enjoyed being with each other and painted an enviable picture for a happier future. A future where I could be BOTH Queer AND Asian, something that I had simply not even considered.
It’s been 20 years since that experience, and QAPA still serves that valuable and necessary link to community. In fact QAPA has been getting it done for almost 40 years. Decades of shared coming out stories over dumplings and dim sum. Hundreds of hours discussing the intersection of race, gender, sexuality and religion over a hot bowl of congee. And thousands upon thousands of origami cranes, tenderly folded over appletinis.
In a couple of weeks, members of QAPA, past and present from across the country, will gather to celebrate. We celebrate the work that was done then, and the work that continues to get done. We will assume our place in queer history as the oldest LGBT API organization in the United States. Come to our gala. Honor our past. Celebrate the “we.” Be part of history.
The dinner will feature a 10-course traditional chinese banquet, performances, dancing and most of all YOU!
We are especially looking to connect with as many past QAPA/AMALGM/BAGMAL Steering committee members as possible. This is a great opportunity for a reunion AND to connect to the current QAPA members. Let’s embrace our multi generational strength! If you are a past QAPA/BAGMAL/AMALGM Steering Committee member, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more info about the Catalyst Dinner, check out our event page.
Spread the word!
QAPA and MASALA are collaborating on a Halloween party Saturday at Club Cafe. Check out our Meetup or Facebook page for more info.
Also, Bean posted this really great article about Appropriation vs Appreciation. A great article to read before the costume season begins. I am far blunter and just want to smack you on the head with rage.
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A landmark decision from the Supreme Court of the United States.
Yes indeed today is a landmark day in terms of gay and lesbian rights. Here in Massachussetts, the right for same sex couples to get married was awarded to us in 2004. And now, with the SCOTUS decision, as President Obama has reminded us “We are all created equal… and people should be treated equally regardless of who they are or who they love.” Same sex couples now have access to over 1,000 rights and benefits afforded at the state and federal levels. Same sex couples can now protect their foreign born partner through marriage.
But yet there is still work that remains to be done. To quote our friends at HBGC, “As a civil rights community, we must tackle the growing distance between “legal equality” and “lived equality” by ensuring that legal and policy protections improve the daily life and experience of marginalized and vulnerable individuals—particularly people of color, people living with HIV, immigrants, undocumented people, and low-income people.”
Let us take the moment to celebrate this hard fought and well earned victory. And then let’s get back to the fight.
Sorry for the technical difficulties folks. Despite the error messages you may have gotten when coming to this site, we are and continue to be a force to be reckoned with. Some recent happenings for QAPA in the area:
- Hosted a screening of the film “Documented” at MIT.
- Ran a charity 5K with ATASK
- Spoke on a few panels about being queer and API
- Went to a play
- Went to New York
- And in general met and chatted wth so many wonderful people.
We’re getting ready for Boston Pride, and our annual summer BBQ. So please come out and say hi!
Please join QAPA to bring in the Year of the Sheep on February 1st at 4pm at the home of one of our steering committee members. The evening festivities will include food and drinks and a 50 inch TV for the Superbowl if you wish to stay for that. Lunar New Year is all about food, fun, and family; so what’s better than to eat delicious food, drink delicious drinks, and spend the evening with your QAPA family AND watch the Superbowl?
Check out our meetup for address!
[Author’s note: This post is in conjunction with NQAPIA’s coverage of Trans Awareness Week. It is an update to a post from 2012. Please to Enjoy!]
Foto: © Anh Ðào Kolbe/adkfoto.com
It’s Trans Awareness Week (TAW) across the country; that means communities everywhere are busy holding educational and social events. This week of events culminates with an event called Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR): a candlelight vigil where we remember and memorialize people around the world who have died for being Trans or gender non-conforming. TDOR started here in Boston, after a woman by the name of Rita Hester was murdered in Allston just for being who she is: a Trans woman of color.
When I was still a baby queer, I like so many others trying to figure out identity, searched high and low for community. I had been exposed to the lesbian and gay community; a community that has become it’s own culture, complete with genre music, media icons and cruise ships. As compelling and as shiny as this world of unicorns and rainbows is, it was not where I belonged.
What I found instead, was TDOR, and let me say, it was a stark difference. TDOR is not a glitter clad parade down Main Street USA. There are no Dykes on Bikes or Go-Go boys. It is NOT a celebration. It is a somber, solemn event, where the names of murder victims are read from a frighteningly long list. And as dark as this event can be it continues to be one of the largest events for the Trans community: a time to be with friends and loved ones, and a time to recognize our fallen.
This year, one of those names that will be read aloud is Leslie Feinberg. Feinberg came to me the same way she came to so many of you. In the gut wrenching 1993 novel, Stone Butch Blues. I was 19 when someone pushed that text into my hands with the mystical command “You must read this.” The story was dark and real, and gritty and terrifying. But it also seeded a magical quality of truth, perseverance and hope. Maybe it was naïve of me to squint my eyes through the passages of sexual assault, and bathe in the paragraphs that described so perfectly, the joy of finding a person to love. But I did these things, and took Feinberg’s words as a blanket, a road map, and a shield into my own journey that I knew would be plagued by heartbreak and discrimination.
And here I am, so many years later thinking about a world without Leslie Feinberg, and I am at an incalculable loss. One of the unfortunate side effects that I’ve experienced since starting testosterone is that I no longer have the ability to cry. So I find it ironic that the one most influential author who enabled me to start my path has also rendered me unable to shed tears over her death. Consequently, I can express tremendous rage. Feinberg was a warrior poet and a pioneer who would never allow herself to be victimized, but still was suffering from basic human discrimination by an inability to access health care as a transgender person. This is an injustice that horribly affects so many, and is something tangible that I can punch with my activist fists.
I like to remind people that gay pride in the USA was catalyzed by the Stonewall Riots in NYC. On that fateful night in June of 1969, a group of drag queens and butch dykes had the gall to fight back. They took a stand and said they would not be targeted any longer for their gender presentation or identity. The modern gay civil rights movement owes it’s start to Trans and gender non conforming people who were being abused, persecuted and murdered. Today, we will read hundreds of names of people who were killed violently: people like Jennifer Laude, the 26 year old Filipina whose hateful murder also highlights the problems with US armed forces serving abroad. And we will also add hundreds of other names of people like Leslie Feinberg who were killed by systemic and institutionalized transphobia.
My own personal copy of Stone Butch Blues was battered and loved, with notes in the margins and torn cover. Just as it was shared with me, I needed to pass it along and share with others. TDOR is in all our roots. Please remember. Come this Sunday to the Boston/Cambridge observance of TDOR. Or, find another TDOR near you.
QAPA is Co-Presenting a special screening of “To Be Takei” as part of the Boston Asian American Film Festival. Come see it!
Mr. George Takei Himself will be in attendance this night. So buy your tickets NOW before they sell out again.
Members can also use the discount code ‘QAPA’ for a discount of $5.
I’m very pleased to offer discounted tickets to this year’s GLAD Spirit of Justice Awards Dinner. Urvashi Vaid will be honored as the 2014 recipient, marking the first time an Asian lesbian has received the honor and putting her in a circle with Deval Patrick and Chief Justice Marshall.
Because of QAPA’s place in the community, any QAPA members who would like to attend, simply enter in PROMOSOJ14 to purchase $75 tickets (in lieu of the $250 ticket) and then select Maxwell Ng/QAPA as your table captain.
QAPA will be seated with our friends, MASALA, of whom Hema Sarang-Sieminski has worked tirelessly for LGBT refugee asylum. And I am hopeful that we can also honor our own Janson Wu who has given so much as GLAD’s Deputy Director.
This event is the premier networking event of Boston’s LGBTQ community, drawing thousands of people. Purchase discounted tickets here.