Brian Hioe 「Interview: ‘taipeilove* – The Documentary’」

Posted on December 27, 2017 commentaires
Lucie Liu. Photo credit: Lucie Liu

Lucie Liu is the director of 「taipeilove* – The Documentary」, an upcoming documentary on the marriage equality movement in Taiwan. The following interview was conducted by New Bloom editor Brian Hioe on December 19th in Taipei. 「taipeilove*」 can be followed on Facebook and Instagram.

Brian Hioe: First, could you introduce yourself and you ended up in Taiwan?

Lucie Liu: My name is Lucie Liu. The first time I came to Taiwan was last year, because I was doing an internship at the Goethe Institute in the cultural department. That’s how I met a lot of people from film festivals and from the creative field. I kind of fell in love with Taiwan and I realized I needed to come back. That’s my story.

I’m a political scientist. During my studies I was constantly involved in theatre or short film productions. I finished my degree and wanted to combine both of the fields. I am currently freelancing in the press department in a political foundation and a theatre in Berlin.

BH: How did the film, 「taipeilove*」, start?

LL: 「taipeilove*」 started with an idea. Last year, I was in a pride parade. I saw a drag queen wearing the Japanese flag, so basically it was completely white, with a red circle. Him and his friends were open, dancing, happy, kissing, and I thought, “Yeah. That’s really nice. That’s how it’s supposed to be.” But then I had starting doing some follow-up research on the entire topic and how openly gay and lesbian you can be in an Asian society. There are so many differences in the different countries.

Taiwan kind of took this revolutionary leap of faith, so I thought I should look into that. I basically really wanted to go back to Taiwan. So I wrote the script in March 2017 and I got funded. That’s how I came here.

BH: Can you also talk a bit about what the film is about? What have been some of the challenges with regards to filming?

LL: I’m following two protagonists, one young lesbian girl who is 26 and a gay couple, who are both 45. I’m going to tell their story and I’m framing it with voices from authorities, experts, and activists, as well as put it up against the outside culture, to kind of set a frame. Those people, as from the frame, make it possible for what my protagonists can actually do right now. This includes Chi Chia-Wei, Yu Mei-Nu, Jennifer Lu, and Wayne from the Tongzhi Hotline. This list is constantly expanding.

I’m not sure what the challenges would be! It’s a lot of work, but I can’t really put my finger on the challenges, because it’s surprising how open my interviewees and everyone involved in the process is about it. The independent film scene here is very welcoming and supportive. Maybe it’s because I’m the first German to cover that topic in a documentary. Everyone has been pretty open I haven’t had any backlash.

It’s just a lot of work, because it’s just me, in terms of the production. I have to keep everything together. I have a team of six people: A cameraman, two sound people, two editors, and me. I also have a social media manager, who was originally the friend of a mutual friend in Berlin. He studied communications and helps me maintain my social media presence on Facebook and Instagram.

BH: What do you hope to accomplish with the documentary when it’s released? Do you hope to spread word about Taiwan? To raise awareness of general issues regarding marriage equality in Asia?

LL: It’s mostly about raising awareness and acceptance. It’s very sad that Taiwan doesn’t get acknowledged internationally in the way that it should, because its taking this very important step which would make it the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. I want to raise awareness how lesbian and gay people still suffer from repression. I mean, we live in 21st century! Taiwan is such a positive example. Of course people here still have to face problems due to religion, culture and tradition. But I have faith in the idea that legalising same-sex marriage will eventually lead to a raising equality in society and speed up structural changes. That’s why Taiwan needs to be portrayed.

I want to take 「taipeilove*」 to film festivals, educational screenings at universities and maybe a broadcasting company. Basically I want to share what’s happening here with the other side of the planet (mostly Europe and America) with people actually paying attention to it, and people realizing that what’s happening here is revolutionary.

BH: How do you hope to address issues regarding Taiwan, for example, in terms of contextualizing it in the rest of Asia and where LGBTQ are in other countries?

LL: I’m hoping it has a positive on other Asian countries and how they decide on their marriage equality issues. But documentary is still a form of art. So I also want to explain to other people using this visual medium what is going on here. I hope that it leads to effects in Asia, but I don’t know if that’s possible. Exposure-wise, however, I’m targeting the market outside of Asia, such as the European market and the American market.

BH: Do you see the film as having to do you with your identity in any way?

LL: Absolutely! My dad is Chinese and my mom is German. I always perceived my German side to be very progressive, since I was socialized in Germany. But now my Asian side is doing something incredible and I want to do justice to that and acknowledge it. It, too, is a part of me being here and being very happy here and having the ability to make a home in Taiwan. This is the first Asian place I would truly consider part of my home.

In this way, it’s also a personal project on my own identity and being happy in this place. As well as realizing that both countries are working on something incredible. In Germany, same-sex marriage got legalized on October 1st. I was at the second same-sex wedding and it was incredibly emotional. Everyone was like, “This is a historic moment!” And I want people to have the same thing in Taiwan.

I honestly don’t understand why people are so reluctant on the issue and hesitant to jump into cold water and do it, as a step forward to universal human rights, which everyone should take. We’re in the 21st century, why are we still talking about if gays or lesbians should have the same rights? It’s quite regressive. I don’t understand it.

BH: Do you have any thoughts on when you will finish the film? I imagine that will affect the outcome of the film, given the two year timeline to legalize marriage equality. That may affect your film.

LL: I’m aiming for July 2018.

BH: In that respect, do you intend to cover any of the issues regarding pushback against gay marriage from Christian groups? The sudden appearance of those groups have been something that has surprised people in the past few years.

LL: I don’t want to give those people a platform, because I think they simply shouldn’t get one. You can’t take human rights away from other people, and I don’t support that. As such, I won’t give them any kind of a visual platform.

But I talk to family members of my protagonists. Through them, the hesitation and traditional and religious implications get drawn out pretty nicely. So I use the invisible source as a way to visualize that it’s very difficult for some. I don’t want to include any demonstrations from radical Christians because this is not what my movie is about.

BH: Are there any key points you think people should look for in your movie?

LL: I think one of my key points was speaking to Chi Chia-Wei. He’s been fighting for marriage equality longer than thirty years now. He’s an incredible personality. I think it’s unbelievable that he’s been fighting for that so long.

In our interview, we asked him why he wouldn’t give up. He said, “I have zero expectations, but most of the time, it just works out.” [Laughs] I think those are words to live by. Sharing his story is very emotional.

I’m also a very big fan of our protagonist, Sarah. She’s very natural in front of the camera. And she really let us in, in sharing her life with us. That’s absolutely something to look forward to.

BH: What else would you like to say to readers in closing, regarding what you hope to accomplish with your film, and what they should expect from it?

LL: I’m this young woman from Germany with an idea and a vision, right? I’m half-Asian and half-German. What I realize is that this is such an incredible topic to me and I’m very passionate about it. I would like the world to see this, to realize that this is history in the making right now.

Because of that, I really hope that my movie gets exposure and that people can see what this incredible place is doing right now, what Taiwan is doing right now. I also need to stress this: Join forces and support each other, rather than taking each other down. Join forces when it comes to the rights of lesbians and gays or anyone else in the LGBTQI spectrum.

Brian Hioe
Brian Hioe was one of the founding editors of New Bloom. He is a freelance writer on social movements and politics, occasional translator, and currently a Democracy and Human Rights Service Fellow at the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. A New York native and Taiwanese-American, he has an MA in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University and graduated from New York University with majors in History, East Asian Studies, and English Literature.


Author: Brian Hioe/Date: December 27, 2017/Source:

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Zio Baritaux 「‘Nancy’ is a podcast for queer people of color」

Photography Amy Pearl

Hosts Kathy Tu and Tobin Low share pivotal LGBTQI+ stories on their heartfelt show.

Kathy Tu and Tobin Low sound like a lot of other podcast hosts: They’re curious, witty, and instantly likable. It seems like they’re like two best friends having a conversation because, well, they are. But unlike most podcasters – who, with some notable exceptions, tend to be straight and white – the 「Nancy」 hosts are “super queer.” “Oh, and by the way, we’re both Asian,” Kathy says at the end of the preview for season one. “You thought you were listening to white people this whole time,” Tobin laughs, “and that’s on you.” That clip set the stage for the provocative first season of 「Nancy」, a production of WNYC Studios, which started with their own coming out stories, and included episodes on the queerness of the Harry Potter franchise and the usefulness of The L World for discussing Trump’s trans military ban and being out at work. But whether amusing or emotional, 「Nancy」 is an essential listen. Each episode is an honest portrait of people on the LGBTQI+ spectrum and their myriad experiences. “Inclusiveness is something we talked about at the very beginning,” Kathy and Tobin explain in the following interview. “[We wanted] to try to include as many different voices into the show as possible.”

How did the two of you meet? How did you decide to make a podcast together?

Kathy: We met at a radio bootcamp called the Transom Story Workshop, where we spent every day for about two months working on radio stories.

Tobin: And after the workshop was over, we both went home to our respective coasts, but we knew we wanted to work together. So, I reached out about doing a podcast featuring queer stories, and Kathy was into it!

Why did you choose 「Nancy」 as the title? Was it a way to reclaim that word?

Tobin: Absolutely. We wanted to reclaim this word that was used in the past as a slur against gay men. And if you’re in the know, then you know what this word used to mean and what we’re trying to do. And if you don’t, then maybe it’s sort of intriguing and fun so that you’ll check out the show.

Why start the podcast with your own coming out stories?

Kathy: Our show started at coming out so our listeners can get to know us a little better, and then we moved on from there.

Toward the end of that episode, Kathy, it seemed your mom made some progress. But then, in the follow-up, it seemed like she fell back: “I just wish you would be... be normal,” she said. Why was it important to re-visit that conversation with your mom? Is it important to show that coming out can be a process rather than a one-time conversation?

Kathy: I think I’m always going to be curious what kind of progress my mom has made, even if it’s very little progress. It’s important for people to know that coming out can be a long process, and I guess I use my own relationship with my mom as a way to show people that. I don’t know that my mom regressed as much as I am coming around to understanding what she’s trying to tell me. Coming out this many times to my mom has shown me that there are just some fundamental concepts that we each hold that the other will possibly never understand. For my mom, it’s the concept of what’s “normal” in society. For me, I can see what she means by that, but I don’t care about what’s considered “normal” in society and I’m happy to be outside of it. And unfortunately, that’s where my mom and I will always miss each other.

How important is inclusiveness to you? Do you worry about leaving someone out?

Kathy: Inclusiveness is something we talked about at the very beginning. We didn’t want to just make a queer show, we wanted to make a queer show for people of color. We’re both East Asian, and it made sense to us to try to include as many different voices into the show as possible. We’re always thinking about gender, orientation, race, class, location, etc. when we look at a story.

Tobin, what episode have you most related to?

Tobin: I did an episode to start Season 2 about my own body issues, which is something I still have trouble talking about openly. What ultimately made that episode feel very special was folks reaching out to talk about how that episode resonated with them, and how they had very similar experiences with growing up overweight or feeling unattractive. I also related to a more recent episode we did that featured a story by Lewis Wallace about his relationship with his grandmother. That story really digs into what it means to be a queer person with family that doesn’t necessarily “get it.” I have people within my family who are still on that journey towards understanding me, so to hear Lewis talk so candidly about it was really moving.

Can you explain the 「Ring of Keys」 episode a little, and why you think it was your most popular episode?

Tobin: So if you’re unfamiliar, the queer graphic artist Alison Bechdel wrote this amazing graphic novel called『Fun Home』, which later got turned into a Broadway musical. In both the book and the musical, there’s a moment where young Alison Bechdel sees an adult queer woman who is wearing a ring of keys on her belt loop and it’s like a bolt of lightning. She can suddenly envision who she is meant to be as an adult. So the story on our show was about a woman named Sarah Lu who tracked down her own 「Ring of Keys」 person, a woman named Maura Koutoujian. And they ended up having this really beautiful conversation about the influence Maura had on Sara, and how she was an inspiration without even knowing it.

Kathy: I think what hit people so hard is that moment of recognition that can feel like a lifeline. Growing up queer can be difficult, and there are moments like the one described in the story that help you make it through. We heard from so many people who heard the story and wanted to talk about the people in their lives who helped them figure it all out. It was one of those stories that seemed to open people up to sharing.

Where did the 「Out at Work」 idea come from?

Kathy: We wanted to do a project that really featured our listeners in the show, and the thing that we landed on is that everyone has to do work, but not everyone has the ability to be out at work. So we wanted our listeners to tell us to what degree they were out at work, and what obstacles they come up against. And it was interesting to see that there was a real spectrum in the ways people are out at work. Everyone’s situation is different and the way they choose to be out is unique.

Tobin: I think we also wanted to address a couple misconceptions that people have about being out at work, the first being that it’s just a matter of being out or not. Like Kathy said, there’s a whole spectrum of experiences that we wanted to highlight on the show. The other reality we wanted to talk about is how our protections as queer folks in the workplace are a patchwork, and in a lot of cases, very tenuous.

What do you hope will happen or change because of this podcast?

Kathy: From the beginning, my goal for the podcast has been to make people feel less alone and seen. It’s tiring to constantly be othered by society, and I hope those people can find a home in our show, or to find community in our listeners. We’re here to tell stories, elevate voices, and build community. And hopefully, someone will find a home with us.

Tobin: I’ve always hoped that people listening to the podcast would feel like they were hanging out with friends. We’re always trying to be as authentic as possible on the show, and that means being real with the emotional range of how friends talk. Maybe one minute you’re laughing, and then suddenly you’re in an emotional place. I think that’s how a lot of people are with their closest friends, and if we can capture that authenticity on the show, then we’ve really accomplished something.

Author: Zio Baritaux/Date: December 27, 2017/Source:

Kathy Tu
Official Website:

Tobin Low

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Jessica Prois 「When You’re Queer And Undocumented, The DACA Stakes Are Higher」

Posted on December 18, 2017 commentaires
“For a lot of us, going back to our home countries isn’t an option because of our queerness.”

Courtesy Tony Choi

When Tony Choi was in high school, his friends would ask him why he didn’t drive. He would evade the question with what he thought was the only plausible defense: He cared deeply about global warming, he told them. Twelve years later, he laughs at his attempt at that moral argument, which was simply a cover-up for the fact that he’s an undocumented immigrant and had no way of getting an ID.

“I learned to really hide myself,” Choi, who’s from Seoul, South Korea, and lives in New York, told HuffPost. “It definitely didn’t feel good. It made me scared. My sister would say, ‘If you stand out too much, they’ll take you away.’”

These memories came back to Choi, now 28, on Tuesday, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced President Donald Trump was nixing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, ending protections for some 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the country as minors. The program, originally enacted under former President Barack Obama and now in Congress’ hands, shielded young people from deportation and allowed them to work in the country legally.

Besides being undocumented, Choi is also gay. He points out there is more at stake for people who could be forced to go back to a country that isn’t big on LGBTQ rights. He notes that military service is compulsory in South Korea for men – and the military penal code prohibits consensual same-sex acts.

“For a lot of us, going back to our home countries isn’t an option because of our queerness.”

“For a lot of us, going back to our home countries isn’t an option because of our queerness,” he said. “If I were to go to Korea, I would have to do the two-year mandatory service in the military, and the law prohibits sodomy.”

Choi came to the U.S. from Seoul when he was 8 years old. His parents’ lumber business had folded due to the global financial crisis, he said. They lived in Hawaii for a year and eventually moved to Bergen County, New Jersey. His father worked construction jobs and his mother worked as a restaurant server and in a nail salon.

He remembers specific anecdotes that highlighted the fact he was undocumented, though he said he didn’t understand it at the time. He couldn’t cross the border to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls during a family trip in fifth grade. And when it was time to take the PSAT and he asked his mother for his Social Security number, she simply told him he didn’t have one.

As Choi got older, his parents divorced and his mother suffered arthritis from her nail technician work. She’s also a breast cancer survivor, which meant she couldn’t work for a sustained period of their family’s life in the U.S.

Before DACA, Choi could only work cash-under-the-table jobs, and he earned $5 an hour at a sushi takeout restaurant after college. He contributed what he could to his mom, who was reliant on her children’s salaries.

“Even if I don’t get deported, I’m worried I’ll be relegated to living that kind of life again,” Choi said.

Currently, his mother hasn’t quite accepted the potential consequences of Tuesday’s decision.

“My mom says, ‘They wouldn’t do this to you.’ She cited examples of Trump saying he was sympathetic to our plight,” Choi told HuffPost. “I say Trump didn’t even have the courage to say he was rescinding DACA. He sent a surrogate – he sent Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. Trump’s not with us.”

Undocumented And Queer At College In Kentucky
Choi entered college in 2008 at a small school in Kentucky called Berea College. He received full tuition coverage as part of a pilot program for undocumented students.

He said he felt grateful and enjoyed his time but felt like he was living a really singular experience without a community of other Asians, and it was extremely isolating. Fear took a toll on his mental health.

“I heard about immigration raids. It started giving me nightmares,” he said. “I grew up in Korea. Now I’m in Kentucky, where there weren’t other Asians like me. I would have panic attacks and nightmares about ICE raiding my door.”

He said he finally started opening up to school leaders and friends, asking for help and also spreading awareness about what he was facing.

“What I didn’t realize I was doing was organizing,” he said. “I was essentially the first immigrant rights organizer at my school.”

He said he connected with other immigrant groups in Kentucky after that and really “came out” as undocumented in 2011 at a conference in Memphis.

Choi now works as a social media manager for 18 Million Rising, an Asian-American/Pacific Islander activism community. Prior to that, he was an organizer with the Women’s March. He points out that issues related to immigration, queer, women and minority rights are all related, and that more people should be aware of that.

“A lot of times when people think about immigration, there’s a stereotypical immigrant in their minds,” he said. “There are undocumented folks from all corners of the planet living in the U.S. We don’t follow the exact same story. We’re not here for all the same reasons. But we’re fighting the common fight. We’re struggling all together.”

Asians Fastest Growing Undocumented Group
While the pool of DACA applications is made mostly of youth from Latin American countries, Asian-Americans account for about 11 percent of those eligible for the immigration program. Within that group, fewer than 30 percent of eligible Asian applicants apply.

Those able to apply before Tuesday’s decision included undocumented minors who were brought to the U.S. before their 16th birthday and met another set of guidelines related to education and criminal background, among other requirements. In 2016, Asian countries – namely South Korea, China, India and the Philippines – were among the top 10 countries of origin for DACA-eligible populations.

Yet Asians don’t speak out much about it. As an activist, Choi is attuned to the many reasons why. He pointed out there’s a litany of factors.

“Asian nonprofits might not be as good at outreach, even though there are organizations doing wonderful work,” he said. “Resources are often not being pooled into Asian groups. We’re isolated. We haven’t come to terms with the fact that immigration is our issue. There’s also always been a sense of shame.”

Undocumented Asian immigrants are now outpacing Mexicans in many areas of the country, with Chinese, South Koreans and Indians among the fastest growing segments.

Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation, told HuffPost that there is little infrastructure in terms of resources, nonprofits and politicians in place to help Asians navigate the process. She cited nonprofit National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, which made DACA one of its primary issues and educated the Korean community on applying, as a type of organization that other Asian ethnicities would benefit from but might not have access to.

“This was their constant push,” she said. “There was a lot of education and making sure people were not afraid. They engaged people for a sustained period.”

How Defending DACA Has Created New LGBTQ Leaders
“You see more queer people taking up leadership positions. We face marginalization in multiple corners – there’s only so many times before you speak out.”

For DACA recipients, ending the program would mean they are now at risk of not being able to work in the U.S. and could face deportation, but LGBTQ DACA recipients also face the prospect of going to countries that may not be as tolerant.

Sharita Gruberg, an associate director of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, told HuffPost it’s not only deportation that presents a threat – immigrants also face dangers while being detained. LGBTQ individuals are more than two times as likely than the general population to be sexually assaulted in confinement, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

“We’ve been documenting the horrific abuse LGBTQ people face in immigration detention since 2013 and conditions have only worsened under Trump,” Gruberg said.

Choi said that because of these threats, new leadership has arisen out of necessity – and that the LGBTQ community has really stepped up. “We’re all pretty devastated,” he said. “At the same time you see more queer people taking up leadership positions. We face marginalization in multiple corners – there’s only so many times before you speak out.”

Choi ultimately remains undeterred and he knows he has to continue to help leading a movement.

“It’s always a factor looming in the back of my mind. If I were to go back to Korea, what would I do? How would I fit in?” he said. “But I am determined to stay because this is my home.”

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Frankie Dunn 「Mac Demarco and King Krule help EYEDRESS through his separation anxiety」

Posted on December 11, 2017 commentaires

Watch how in his new video.

27-year-old musician EYEDRESS is very cool. Born in the Philippines, raised in the US, and now back in Manila, after a stint playing in a local jazz band, the multi-instrumentalist has found his own spaced out genre-mashing solo sound. With a synth-led EP already out on XL, his well-named 2017 album『Manila Ice』soundtracks his ever-evolving homelife well as the political situation in his hometown. Recorded in his home studio around the birth of his first child, EYEDRESS (DIY king) writes, sings, plays and raps the whole thing himself.

Good news for existing and potential new fans: today we’re happy to share with you the video for what we believe to be the highlight of『Manila Ice』. A love song disguised as a trippy nighttime adventure, 「SEPARATION ANXIETY」 is a documentation of EYEDRESS’s life on tour away from his family. London's calling and boy does it look fun.

“I filmed everything during my tour in the UK this November,” EYEDRESS told『i-D』in an email. “We were staying with my friend Sonny who directed a music video of mine that should come out early next year. I asked him if I could borrow his camcorder so I could film during my tour and he agreed. I filmed a bit of it on his camera then eventually I bought a tape camera for a hundred quid off of gumtree from this sweet Jamaican man who met me while I was in line at the Supreme store!”

“The video is basically just me and my bandmate Julius smoking up and hanging out. One night at my gig at Omeara in London, I fell asleep in the green room and when I woke up, my friend King Krule was there along with his mate Rago who plays in his band. We also filmed some bits with my label mate MIKE and his homies. We played a gig together that night then afterwards saw my bud Mac Demarco in the crowd and we kicked it with him. The video kind of ends with us at the Mac Demarco concert in the Coronet.”

EYEDRESS 「SEPARATION ANXIETY」 - from『Manila Ice』released on June 02, 2017.

Author: Frankie Dunn/Date: December 11, 2017/Source:

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Aaron Gettinger 「‘Falling For Angels’ Explores Asian Men Leaving Gay Racism Behind」

Posted on December 08, 2017 commentaires

Asian men falling in love and discovering themselves – outside of the idealized white stereotype.

Blessed with an abundance of Art Deco architecture and excellent access to mass transit, Koreatown is one of the hottest and most densely populated neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Though it endured the 1992 riots, “With the influence of three generations of Korean and Latino immigrants, these once-mean streets have become a picturesque and prosperous 「Blade Runner」-ish warren of ethnic culinary hot spots imbued with an East-meets-West sense of fun,” gushed a 2015『New York Times』travel feature.

It’s the setting for this week’s episode of 「Falling For Angels」, a new series that explores intersectionality and gay love in Los Angeles.

(WATCH: 「Falling For Angels: Koreatown」)

Steven Liang 「Falling For Angels: Koreatown」 - released on December 08, 2017.

Koreatown stars Ty Chen as Kevin, Dale Song as Gino and Jennifer Yun as Lisa

Kevin, a young Taiwanese-American, who grew up in a traditionally white American neighborhood begins to have a different understanding of his heritage after meeting the much older, Gino, an adopted Korean-American...

I hasten to call the opening scene depicting an app-spurred hookup “refreshingly honest” because there aren’t many popular depictions of this activity to begin with. It is neither intimate nor glamorous, but it is immediate, hot and, initially, relatively anonymous. One partner will not let the other kiss him. “Did it get messy?” the bottom asks, spurred by the top’s post-release reaction. No: The condom broke. “You have nothing to worry about,” says the top. “I’m clean.” A pause, then, “The Cedars-Sinai emergency room has PEP. I’ll call you an Uber.” The top offers to accompany the bottom, who is apparently not on PrEP. The bottom declines his offer and leaves.

In out, in out.

Except Kevin (Ty Chen) left his keys with Gino (Dale Song). They meet at a karaoke bar to hand them over, and Gino convinces Kevin, fresh from the hospital and nervous, to have a drink on him. It turns out that Kevin has stumbled into a meeting of Gino’s monthly “Korean adoptee support group” and that Gino is set to leave L.A. in six hours to find his birth parents in Seoul. Kevin, a Taiwanese-American, keeps obtusely mentioning the novelty of him hanging out in an all-Asian environment.

This is the episode’s crux. Gino sought out a Korean-American community to connect with his racial identity. Writer Steven J. Kung based the episode on the time he spent walking Koreatown’s streets with an adopted friend who did just this: “He played lacrosse. He grew up in Boston and has that accent. When he went to L.A., he felt like he wanted to get in touch with Korean culture, and the way he accomplished that was going into Koreatown and just being.”

Kevin, on the other hand, was raised in an all-white neighborhood and, as a result of being bullied, minimized his racial identity. He continues to do so, but he speaks Mandarin, a result of having parents who enrolled him in Chinese school, and visits Taiwan with them every few years. “I never had that,” says Gino. “It started turning into this aching pit.”

This is a meditation on how gay Asian men live in the United States. Gino won’t kiss for fear of attachment or doesn’t send face pics, but who’s to say Kevin would have come over had he known his trade was Asian? The bit of tit-for-tat reading the men do of each other is impeccably written and acted. There is much to be said about racist anti-Asian sentiment among gay men – who among us has not seen a Grindr profile bluntly stating, “No fems, no fats, no Asians”? Even though Gino and Kevin live out their racial heritage differently, this is reality every time an app is opened.

「Falling For Angels」 is a show about queer people of color living in the whiteness-idealizing LGBT community in a multi-ethnic city. Its half-hour run time and anthology structure encourages impressionistic storytelling, and the plots are nothing new. What is new and important is that the characters are queer men of color living out situations that only queer men of color experience – experiences that can alternatively wound, bring joy, or inspire understanding. Gino speaks of learning to love himself when he looked into the eyes of his first Asian boyfriend – they looked like his own. “Well, now you know why I wanted to kiss you,” replies Kevin.

“One of the reasons I was really interested in this script is because it conveys Asian American men as attractive – not only to other races but to each other,” said director Steven Liang.

Ultimately, this episode reminds us of one of the better things that can result from a one-off hookup: A genuine connection, however brief. A reminder that you are not alone. Healing.

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HyunA 현아 「Lip & Hip」

Posted on December 04, 2017 commentaires

HyunA 「Lip & Hip」 - released on December 04, 2017.

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