Gavin Fisher 「Vancouverite creates website where gay Asian men can share their dating stories」

Posted on July 10, 2016
Edward Ho said some profiles on dating websites and apps will specifically say ‘no Asians’

Edward Ho has created a website where gay Asian men can share their stories of experiencing discrimination in the dating community. (Gavin Fisher/CBC)

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.

“I would see other Asian men and lots of different diversity, but the terms were really... meant to label others and to exclude ourselves from each from each other. 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.

‘No Asians’

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. That’s kind of basic,” Ho said.

With files from CBC’s On the Coast

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