When Edward Ho first began to explore the gay community in Vancouver over 20 years ago, he was surprised by all the labels and attitudes that existed around people's race.
"If you're into Asians or you date only Asians you'd be called a 'sticky rice', or if you're an Asian person and you're into Caucasian men then you'd be called 'potato queens,'" said Ho, a Malaysian-born Chinese man who immigrated to Canada as a child.
In a way it was not helpful." He said that he and his friends would have similar experiences when they tried to approach other men in clubs and bars — they would often be rejected, unless that person was specifically interested in dating people from an Asian background.Ho has now started the website The Dating GAM, where gay Asian men can share their stories about facing racism while dating."It's been 25 years since I've been actively dating and from the friends that I talk to that are younger than me in their 20s, they're still saying there are issues with discrimination that they face when they try and date out there." Ho said that people's profiles on gay dating websites and apps like Grindr will specifically say "no Asians", or say that the person is not interested in people from other ethnicities.He said that this can make gay Asian men — especially young, impressionable men who have only recently come out — feel like they are "second class", and internalize that type of thinking."Just state what your preferences are, as opposed to what your preferences aren't.
What is it like to be an Asian man trying to navigate the world of gay hook-up and dating apps?
Many of us have heard or seen the horrific "no fats, no fems, no Asians" tagline that frequently runs across profiles on various gay social media apps and these words have a real impact on the people that encounter them.
In a new video, Collin Factor and his friend Marvin unpack their personal experiences with dating as gay Asian men -- both online and off.
"This video stemmed from a conversation me and my friend (in the video) had one day," Factor told The Huffington Post.
"We shared various stories we had in common in which we felt like we were 'fetishized' within the gay community by just being ourselves.
Whether it be when our partners are immediately assumed to only be 'into Asians'/'rice queens' just because they're with us, or the dialogue we've both have experienced in the past, in which we get a compliment but it's immediately followed with 'for an Asian guy...' we felt it was a subject where there was a lot to explore." Factor hopes the video will start to spark conversations that "don't happen enough" and he hopes that conversation eventually reaches beyond dating and tackles the lack of representation and visibility of Asian people in the media and society in general. British Olympic diver Tom Daley surprised fans in early December when he revealed he's in a relationship with another man in an emotional You Tube video.