Skip to main content

Asian American Policy Review

Topic / Gender, Race and Identity

TIGER: A Sustainable Model for Building LGBTQ AAPI Community

This piece was published in the 30th print volume of the Asian American Policy Review.

The LGBTQ AAPI community is often overlooked and their needs marginalized. LGBTQ AAPIs still suffer from invisibility, isolation, and stereotyping.


Since the Harvard Kennedy School’s Asian American Policy Review was first published, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (API) community has considerably matured and developed. Today, according to the Census, AAPIs are the nation’s fastest growing racial minority group. Immigrants from Asia are the largest segment of immigrants, both legal and undocumented, coming to the United States.  The AAPI population will grow rapidly over the next 25 years. By 2040, nearly one-in-ten Americans will be AAPI.[i]

More and more are coming out as LGBT.  But the lives of LGBTQ AAPIs involve complex intersections of being sexual, racial/ethnic, linguistic, gender, immigrant, and economic minorities. Two-thirds of all Asian Americans are foreign-born and 80% speak a language other than English in their homes.  A third (34%) are not citizens.  More than one million Asian Americans are undocumented.

AAPIs comprise a larger and disproportionate share of LGBTQ immigrant populations, with 15 percent of undocumented LGBTQ adults and 35 percent of documented LGBTQ adults identifying as AAPI.[ii]  After 9/11 in 2001, South Asian and Muslim immigrants have been targets of racial profiling, detentions, and deportations.[iii] After the election of Donald Trump as President in 2016, the rights of LGBTQ people and all immigrants have been curtailed or significantly threatened.

The LGBTQ AAPI community is often overlooked and their needs marginalized.  LGBTQ AAPIs still suffer from invisibility, isolation, and stereotyping. To address the unmet needs of the LGBTQ AAPI community, several local LGBTQ AAPI organizations have formed over the years. Some have been short-lived while other groups have endured for decades.

This article studies local LGBTQ AAPI organizations over the past twenty years.[iv]  It reveals the constituent elements that have allowed them to survive and thrive.  While they continue to face internal challenges in building their organizations, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), a federation of LGBTQ AAPI organizations, has helped them expand their capacity and longevity.  A sustainable model of infrastructure that builds local LGBTQ AAPI community is needed.  That sustainable model is where organizations balance the social and, political, as well as peer-support and educational programming.

I dub this practical theory as a “TIGER Analysis” or “Typography of Intersectional Gender and Sexual Empowerment and Resistance.”  Here a tiger is illustrative of the constituent parts that build an enduring organization.

  • The hind legs are the powerful social activities that bring people into the body of the organization. Social activities are the connection to the base or grass(roots). Social activities, like legs, gives the organizational body the initial propulsion to advance.
  • The fore legs are akin to the fighting arms that advance political causes and advocacy.
  • The tail (or heart) is representative of the peer support that balances the best of the body. Or perhaps it is the heart that loves and holds vulnerable segments of the community together.
  • The tiger’s head is the brain and education activities which serves internal and external purposes. Internal education is community awareness and is regulatory for a well-functioning organizational body.  We must know our cultural and community’s.  The external education and is the development of broader political consciousness and the organizational body’s interaction with the outside world
  • The strips are the external messaging of all parts of the organization body, otherwise called outreach. It broadcasts the work of each element and each body part) as part of the whole but also done independently

This TIGER Analysis presents a novel theoretical model to examine sustainable organizations service and advancing the interests of those at the intersection of Asian American identity and queerness.

Initial Development of LGBTQ AAPI Organizations

In the 1980’s, progressive movements connected and sparked organizing efforts amongst LGBT AAPIs.  Lesbians and bisexual women were at the forefront, forming the national Asian Pacific Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Network (APLBTN) and regional Asian Lesbians of the East Coast (ALOEC).  In the 1990s, predominantly male groups like the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA) in San Francisco and GAPIMNY in New York, and the South Asian groups Trikone in San Francisco formed.[v]

Since then many other LGBTQ AAPI organizations across the nation have formed. While they were initially created as safe spaces, the work matured to include political activism and advocacy, along with peer-support and educational programming.  Most LGBTQ AAPI organizations are located in areas with large populations of AAPIs, namely the Bay Area in Northern California, Greater Los Angeles Area, New York City, and the Metropolitan Washington, DC Area.

Some are organized by ethnicity or gender, but today most are multi-gender and pan-Asian. Their memberships are a mix of foreign-born and US-born AAPIs.  Those who were foreign-born are split between being naturalized citizens and legal permanent residents.  Some are immigrants, often on work visas or student visas.

LGBTQ AAPI organizations vary greatly in regard to infrastructure, budget, and leadership structure. Today only three autonomous organizations, namely API Equality Northern California, API Equality Los Angeles, and UTOPIA Seattle, have staff.   Most are all-volunteer run.  Only a quarter of LGBTQ AAPI organizations are formally incorporated as tax-exempt 501(c)3 entities.  About a third are fiscally sponsored by another 501(c)3.

III. Core Programs of Modern LGBTQ AAPI Organizations 

Today there are nearly 60 local LGBTQ AAPI organizations,[vi] when there were only 37 ten years ago.[vii]  When these organizations successfully blend activities that are social, political, peer-support, and educational, they tend to endure over longer periods of time.[viii]

1. Social

LGBTQ AAPI organizations provide essential social networking spaces where they can connect with people of common heritage and experiences.  The experiential reality of many LGBTQ AAPIs is that “All the gays are white, all the Asians are straight, where do I belong?” Even in larger people of color gatherings, AAPIs feel submerged where African American or Latinx peers are more numerous. Sustainable LGBTQ AAPI groups host a wide range of social activities catering to a variety of interests, such as potlucks dinners, Dim Sum brunches, sports teams, Bollywood nights, and cultural performances. These provide an alternative space to the gay bars and clubs, which is especially important for young people.

Several groups have annual events.  Some events have attracted hundreds of people and were important fundraisers.  MASALA in Boston hosts an annual Mela.  In the Bay Area, Trikone has an annual cultural show and GAPA hosts “Runway” a gay male beauty pageant and talent show.  In New York, SALGA runs the “Color Me Queer,” a party for people of color during June as part of LGB Pride month, which jointly benefits SALGA and the Audre Lorde Project.

Pride is the biggest annual LGBT event[ix] and almost all LGBTQ AAPI organizations have marched in the parades or participated in the festivals.[x] LBT women’s groups and women members of multi-gender groups regularly participated in annual Dyke Marches in Chicago and New York, to promote visibility.   LGBTQ AAPI organizations provide an important way for LGBTQ AAPI individuals to form social networks.  Because the groups start as identity-based gatherings, they have wide-appeal.  Yet other individuals also strive for a more political values-based gathering.

2. Political

As such, LGBTQ AAPI groups have often blended social spaces with social justice work.  They all engaged in some form of political advocacy or activism, but the frequency and manner vary tremendously.  They have written letters to the editor to mainstream press, LGBTQ community press, and Asian ethnic/language press. Some groups participated in rallies, protests, and lobby days, and published political news/stories/articles in their newsletters, websites, and listservs.

LGBTQ AAPIs have frequently spoken out against defamatory images and articles in the media.  For example, groups in New York and Los Angeles protest Details magazine’s “Gay or Asian?” feature that mocked gay Asian men,[xi] and SALGA in New York organized protests against the detention, deportation, and special registration of South Asians after 9/11.  Sometimes they expressed international solidarity and protested human rights violations against LGBTQs abroad, such as in the campaign against India 377 which recriminalized homosexual sodomy.

The campaign for marriage equality galvanized LGBTQ AAPI groups, specifically California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 in 2008.[xii]  API Equality in San Francisco and API Equality in Los Angeles were founded to specifically work on marriage equality in the AAPI community.  Both hired staff to work on the 2008 campaign and continued to maintain staff with more diverse programs. They developed translated educational materials, organized volunteers and targeted AAPI voters to vote against Proposition 8. They generated stories and features about same-sex couples in the AAPI media, thereby creating a more tolerant and understanding atmosphere. Both groups developed significant organizational infrastructure that has continued to this day.

On the East Coast, groups pushed to be included in cultural parades specifically in New York. In the late 1990s, SALGA was explicitly barred from marching in the India Independence Day Parade.[xiii]  The organizers campaigned for seven years to finally be included, which occurred in 2000.[xiv] Ten year later following suit, QWAVE spearheaded the Lunar New Year Day for All coalition to have LGBT AAPIs march in the Lunar New Year Day in Chinatown.[xv]

Some groups engaged in politically partisan work.  Federal tax-exempt (501(c)3) groups are forbidden from campaigning for specific candidates for office or political parties, but some LGBTQ AAPI groups that are unincorporated or have 501(c)4 status face no such restrictions.  The first organization that endorsed candidates was GAPA in San Francisco.  A few GAPA members actually sought and won political office.[xvi]  In 2008, the LGBTQ AAPI groups in Washington, DC collaborated with the Human Rights Campaign to host an “Asian American Queer Asian Forum,” to discuss the elections and to publicly endorse Barack Obama for President.

LGBT AAPIs have limited rights in our society and LGBT AAPI organizations have a responsibility to speak out on behalf of their community.  Politically oriented organizations have fought hard but still need social activities and networks to refresh and rejuvenate their members.  Some members within the community continue to need more and have special needs.

3. Peer-Support

LGBTQ AAPI organizations provide peer support for those coming out of the closet, looking to connect with their cultural identity, or needing more identity-based support.  A few have monthly peer-support group meetings.  Some of these are open to all of their members and others are specifically for women, people of transgender experience, or youth.  SALGA’s monthly “coming out” sessions has facilitators who are fluent in English and another South Asian language and trained in power dynamics, racism and other biases.

The existence of the groups offer a hub for individuals to readily find other social services and referral.  The most often requested services are health/AIDS/HIV services, immigration assistance, and general legal advice.  Some groups support young people by providing college scholarships, as done by GAPI and APIQWTC.

Many groups provide specific support on immigration matters.  Some groups like MASALA have done educational forums with LGBTQ civil rights attorneys and South Asian immigration lawyers.  SALGA has actively campaigned for immigrants’ rights and protested against the detention, deportation, and special registration of immigrants.  Al-Fatiha and SALGA have written letters in support of asylum petitions, confirming that the applicants are LGBTQ and members of their groups.

The peer-support that LGBTQ AAPI organizations maintains is a critical element to cultivating and taking care of their base of members.

4. Education

Educational activities are integral to the missions of almost all LGBTQ AAPI groups.  Most groups hosted educational workshops, guest speakers, or discussion groups on a variety of topics.  Some also have blogs/e-discussion groups.

Most groups regularly co-sponsor educational events organized by others in which they encourage their members to attend.  But some have observed an imbalance in solicitations for LGBTQ AAPI co-sponsorship.  LGBTQ AAPI groups seem to be more often solicited by LGBTQ groups, than by mainstream AAPI groups, to co-sponsor their events.  One person commented that this is usually an effort to demonstrate some level of inclusion in name, (or color in attendees) but not necessarily in the program.  Nevertheless, token support has at least some value.  At the same time, LGBTQ AAPI groups are less often solicited by non-LGBTQ Asian groups.  The result is that LGBTQ AAPIs are sometimes more visible in the LGBTQ community, than they are in the mainstream AAPI community.

Some groups launched multilingual educational campaigns about being LGBTQ.  Much of the AAPI community does not speak or read English.  Almost half (43%) of the nation’s Asian Americans over 18 are limited English proficient and four out of five (81%) speak a language other than English in their homes.   Yet, information about LGBTQ and resources are almost all exclusively in English and almost all LGBT AAPI operate in English.  Moreover, LGBTQ AAPIs are often frustrated at how most of gay culture is dominated by white gay images, and that women, transgender persons, South Asians, and Pacific Islanders are exceptionally absent.  To address these frustrations, groups embark on a variety of outreach activities.

Their approach in developing educational messages had to be culturally competent.  They found that the traditional in-your-face approach of many gay activists, and Americans in general, tended to turn-off many foreign-born Asians.  The messages needed to be more subtle, yet still affirming, in order to promote acceptance of LGBTQ AAPIs.  Among the most successful were The Asian Pride Project’s Family Acceptance PSAs featuring AAPI parents who love their LGBTQ kids. Satrang translated its brochure into five (5) South Asian languages and took out advertisements and articles in South Asian newspapers and magazines.  GAPIMNY’s  bilingual postcards distributed on street corners and at ethnic grocery stores in Chinatown and Flushing.

Sometimes they educate the larger community.  A few groups hold workshops or open community forums; some have speakers bureaus.  QAPI in Boston occasionally speaks at student conferences, MASALA has educational outreach tables at India Day Celebrations and GAPIMNY tables at the Asian American Heritage Month Festival to provide visibility and build awareness and education about the existence of LGBT AAPI people.

Educational activities of LGBTQ AAPI organizations have been both internal and external.  Internal education helps their members grow and become more aware.  External education targets both the mainstream, predominately white, LGBT community about race and diversity and the mainstream, predominately straight, AAPI community about queerness.

 5. Sustainable Infrastructure

Groups that have successfully blended social and political activities tend to endure over decades.  The social aspect of the groups give them a feeder for new members, who become involved and can become politically aware.  There are many talented leaders in the community who want to advance LGBTQ rights and racial justice, and the groups provide them a membership from which they can organize a base.

Organizations that tend to be exclusively social or highly political have not been sustainable.  Exclusively social or exclusively political groups have typically formed around an individual or small grouping of people with shared values and shared desire for political organizing.  When those core members move on with their lives – because of their careers, changing jobs, moving to another city, having children, or even dying – the groups often dissipate.

Social and political activities are also not enough to sustain an organization or community.  Organization’s must also provide peer-support for specific segments of the LGBT AAPI community who need support, largely because members need it.  They must engage in educational programs so members can learn more about their community, issues, rights, and struggles.  This feeds the politicization of the group’s members.

Groups that are seen as doing something, that are vibrant and successful, draw resources.  More people get involved and volunteer their time and talents. Other people donate.  They become recognized among other organizations and the media.  With more recognition, the process of becoming institutionalized is catalyzed.

It is this model, where groups have successfully blended activities that are social, provide peer-support, educational, and political, that tends to endure over longer periods of time.

Challenges in LGBTQ AAPI Community Building

Sustainability does not come without challenges. A balanced mix of social, peer-support, educational, and political activities tend to keep organizations healthy over the long term although they still deal with internal issues in the short-term.  To help groups more effectively address these challenges, NQAPIA was founded to help build their capacity.

1. Social / Political Tension

There was some internal push back to the political activism of LGBT AAPI groups.  Group leaders sometimes had to negotiate between competing factions within their groups. Oftentimes one segment of their memberships tended to be more focused on social activities and had a distaste for political activism.  Another segment believed that their groups had a duty to be politically engaged and to speak up for LGBTQ AAPIs.  Invariably, when the political and advocacy work was perceived to predominate (notwithstanding whether they actually predominated in true hours or in the number of events), there were complaints that the group had become “too political.”

It is notable that the more socially-oriented leaders and members tended to be immigrants or those who were foreign-born.  Those who were more political were US-born.  Indeed, some AAPIs come from countries that have a history of government repression, where speaking out had direct consequences for them and their families.  Some AAPIs are taught to be silent.  But history has shown that silences leads to our demise. We must speak out.

Groups use social events to build a political base.  Social events are safe and easy entry points for new members, which then provide them with some awareness of community concerns and problems, and ultimately catapult into political consciousness. For others, the educational and outreach work is not seen as “political” per se but rather as “service.”  This too serves as a bridge to bring more people into political awareness. Both are essential to bring people in into the organization and to build their core group of volunteers.

One organizational leader said that  “Simply existing as a gay Asian safe space was a political act in itself.”  Simply hosting AAPI-only meetings is a recognition of racism and homophobia, and for women’s groups, of sexism in society today.  He observed that people came to “political consciousness” often by simply going to organizational events and occasionally discussions about racism and LGBTQ concerns would, organically, emerge. These processes were highly effective in bringing more people to awareness.[xvii]

Historically, the blending of political and social activities has been essential.  The history of the LGBTQ AAPI community in the 1990s had been strong social groupings at the local level and political organizing at the regional level.  To some extent, most of the social groups were predominantly men’s groups – namely GAPIMNY, GAPA, and GAPSN – and regional political groups were predominantly East Asian women’s groups, such as APLBTN and ALOEC.

But today, the LGBTQ AAPI groups that have endured are those that have balanced activities catering to larger numbers of people.  Since then, men’s groups have grown more political and some have affirmatively worked to examine their role in the struggle against sexism.  Many lesbian women activists joined broader women’s issues or intersectional work to combat domestic violence and human trafficking.  This occurred to the demise of LBT women’s groups.  More recently-founded LBTQ women’s organizations have become more social.  Today, most LGBTQ AAPI groups are multi-gender and mix both social and social justice activities.

2. Infrastructure Limitations

LGBTQ AAPI organizations struggle with a series of challenges in programming, priorities, and membership involvement, as was uncovered in NQAPIA’s 2009 Queer Asian Compass survey.

Sometimes group leaders felt like they were constantly reinventing the wheel and “building everything from the ground up.” Larger groups, like Satrang coordinated a dozen major events every year and GAPIMNY which runs monthly workshops for their membership, a youth group, and social outings, at times, felt overwhelmed by all of the activities that they were doing.  Others were struggling to figure out the needs within their own communities, and the organization’s appropriate role.  Leaders questioned whether their group needed to be everything to everyone.  Limited capacity, experience, and leadership prevented them from doing as much as they could.  Some organizational leaders were able to manage this balance, while others had more difficulty.

LGBTQ AAPI organizational leaders felt challenged in motivating their memberships.  For example, SALGA commented that they have a large membership of over 1,000 individuals, but their activities do not necessarily turn out large numbers of people.  Likewise, AQUA noted that there were “many gay Asians in the DC area but they don’t participate.”  Groups in cities with many colleges and universities, such as Boston and Washington, DC, commented how many LGBTQ AAPIs were around in the community but not involved in their organizations.

Burnout was a constant concern.  People commented about the need to involve new people and the fatigue of leadership.  Occasionally, members and leaders of LGBTQ AAPI groups were already committed to other groups or worked long hours at their full-time jobs.  They were sometimes overextended.

The opposite dynamic was that some individuals were resistant to taking on leadership roles because said they “couldn’t give 100%.”  There was a notion that to be involved, they had to do everything, know everything, and be aware of every contingency.  And so, capable talented members would look on while a few individuals struggled to do all the work.  Groups needed to structure ways to encourage people to contribute whatever amount of time they can give.

Greater information sharing among groups and great leadership development was needed.

3. Limited Funding

Notwithstanding LGBT AAPI organization’s diverse programs and reach, groups had limited financial resources.  Nearly half of the groups had annual budgets under $1,000.  About a quarter had budgets between $1,000 and $10,000.  74% (43 groups) operate on budgets less than $10,000. 10% (6 groups) operate on budgets over $100,000.

Annual Budget # of Groups % of Groups
Under $500 22 38%
$500-$999 6 10%
$1,000-$4,999 8 14%
$5,000-$9,999 7 12%
$10,000-$19,999 4 7%
$20,000-$29,999 4 7%
$30,000-$49,999 0 0%
$50,000-$999,999 1 2%
More than $100,000 6 10%

Securing sufficient financial resources is an ongoing challenge. Most funding came from fundraising events, followed by individual donations, and finally membership fees.  On average, about 45% of all funding came from fundraising events; 25% came from individual donations; and 20% from memberships dues.

Most are not incorporated as tax-exempt nonprofit organizations.  Some are incorporated as a 501c3 but others have found a work-around through fiscal sponsorship.  Indeed, seeking the 501(c)3 tax exempt status was seen as more of a hindrance than a benefit.  Of course, raising foundation money is alluring.  But some groups cherished the freedom of not being incorporated.  Two specifically rejected incorporating and applying for their own tax-exemption status.  They found that the process could take a year and would detract time, energy, and money away from other more important activities, such as programming events and advocacy.  They also did not want to be permanently trapped into the 501(c)3 limitations, as well as the financial reporting obligations to the IRS.  Instead, they opted for fiscal sponsorship wherein they worked with a bona-fide tax-exempt organization to raise foundation funding, when such funding was available.

A study by the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy uncovered the dearth of foundation funding to LGBT AAPI organizations.[xviii]   In 2009, grants to all LGBTQ organizations and projects represented slightly more than 0.2% of all foundation giving in the United States, and of that amount a measly 0.7% went to LGBT AAPI organizations. Though foundation funding to LGBT AAPI has increased since then it has not been commensurate with the level of work being done to meet the vast needs of the LGBT AAPI community.

4. Building Local Capacity

To address these challenges, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) was founded in 2005 to network LGBT AAPI organizations, build their organizational capacity, train their leaders, invigorate grassroots organizing, and challenge homophobia and racism. NQAPIA harnesses the collective power of local LGBTQ AAPI groups.  The organizations are building a base and NQAPIA helps them to deploy and direct that base to ameliorate injustice and advance rights.

Indeed, the groups have significant memberships and leaderships. There are a combined 393 “leaders” of groups, and 3 of the groups have full-time staff. The groups have an average of 147 formal members, but the range varies widely from about 10 to 1,000.  Most groups have memberships under 100, but a few had over 500.  In total, all LGBTQ AAPI groups have 7,575 members.

Most impressive is the organizations’ collective reach to grassroots LGBT AAPIs.  The average size of organization’s listservs is 685, but again the range is from 27 to 6,800.  In the aggregate the groups together command a wide reach. Through 60,780 Facebook friends, 28,770 email subscribers, 17,836 Twitter followers, and 18,611 Instagram followers, they can reach 124,588 LGBT AAPIs across the country.

To address funding challenges, NQAPIA provides fiscal sponsorships so that organizations can focus on the substantive work that they are doing. Over the years, funding to LGBT AAPI organization has increased.


LGBTQ AAPI organizations across the United States are working hard to provide a safe and supportive space for LGBTQ AAPIs.  They provide an array of social, support, political, and education activities. They reach out to educate their members and the broader community.  They speak out in support of the community.  They challenge racism in the gay community and homophobia in Asian American communities.

Some have been around for 30 years, are incorporated, and have hired professional staff.  Others are just starting out.  They have launched visibility campaigns, multilingual efforts, and provided safe spaces for the more vulnerable and forgotten, such as young people, people of transgender experience, and women.  Some are heavily involved in efforts for the right to marriage, others are seeking rights for immigrants.

When organizations are too focused on social activities or political activism, they tend to fall apart after a few years.  When they blend these two they build a base that can be organized.  But this base also needs to be tended through peer-support activities and educational programming. The groups often face internal organizational limitations and external challenges, often due to having no staff and all leaders serving in volunteer capacities.  Yet those who blend social, support, political, and education activities tend to endure over long periods of time.  This sustainable model builds the local infrastructure to build a healthy and vibrant LGBTQ AAPI community.


[i] Ong, Jonathan, Ong, Paul and Elena Ong. 2016. “The Future of Asian America in 2040.” AAPI Nexus Journal 14(1): 14 -29. (

[ii] Gary Gates, “LGBTQ Adult Immigrants in the United States.” The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles (2013) (

[iii] Puar, Jasbir & Rai, Amit, “Monster, Terrorist, Fag: The War on Terrorism and the Production of Docile Patriots.” Social Text, Vol.20, Num. 3, 117-148 (2002), (

[iv] National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), “Queer Asian Compass: A Descriptive Directory of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ) Asian American, South Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations” New York, NY. July 2009; (  NQAPIA, “2019 Member Group Profile: A Census of Our Own” Las Vegas, NV. Aug. 2019. This author has been involved with LGBTQ AAPI organizing and organization since 1998. (

[v] At the same time AIDS/HIV service agencies formed that specifically targeted AAPIs, such as APICHA in New York, MAP for Health in Boston, API Wellness Center in San Francisco, and API Intervention Team in Los Angeles. However, these agencies provide direct social services, have secured millions of dollars in government grants, and hired sizable staffs.  No local LGBTQ AAPI organization has this level of resources. AAPI AIDS/HIV service agencies exist in a different realm an are beyond the scope of this article.  Wong, Frank Y., Crisotomo, Vincent A., Bao, Daniel, Smith, Brian D., Young, Darwin, Huang, Z. Jennifer, Buchhloz, Michelle E., and Stephanie N. Frangos. 2011. “Development and Implementation of a Collaborative, Multistakeholder Research and Practice Model on HIV Prevention Targeting Asian/Pacific Islander Men in the United States Who Have Sex with Men.” American Journal of Public Health 101(4): 623–31. (

[vi] NQAPIA, “2019 Member Group Profile: A Census of Our Own” Las Vegas, NV. Aug. 2019. (

[vii] NQAPIA, “Queer Asian Compass: A Descriptive Directory” New York, NY. July 2009. (

[viii] There are admittedly limitations in categorizing these activities as such.  Sometimes they blend.  For example, a screening of a film about the lives of South Asians after 9/11 may be both a social and political event.

[ix] While Pride Parades have historically been political marches for LGBTQ rights and to enhance LGBTQ visibility, they have transitioned to being more social and filled with parties and celebrations.

Reclaim Pride Coalition. (n.d.) Why we march. Retrieved from Accessed November 2019.

[x] The study found that in 2009, only half of the LGBT AAPI groups participated in AAPI cultural-specific events, such as Lunar New Year, Tet, Diwali, or nation-specific independence day festivals (e.g., Pakistan, India, Philippines).  It seems that LGBTQ AAPIs have been more out as Asians in the LGBTQ community and more closeted in Asian communities.

[xi] McNally, Whitney. (2004, April). Gay or Asian? Details. Retrieved from (link describing the original article:

LaVallee, Andew. (2004, 28 April). Andrew LaVallee, “Asian Americans express outrage at Details magazine; Peres is contrite”, GayCityNews, April 28. 2004; “Gay or Asian” spread causes minority uproar. (2004, 9 April). UCLA Asia Pacific Center. Retrieved from

[xii] AmerAsia Journal Vol. 32, Number 1, “Marriage Equality Debate” 2006. (

[xiii] Monisha Das Gupta, Unruly Immigrants: Rights, Activism, and Transnational South Asian Politics in the United States (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006). (

[xiv] Arun Venugopal, “South Asian LGBT Community Marches in India Day Parade,” WNYC News, August 16, 2010 (

[xv] Daniel Roberts & Erin Durkin, “Gay groups invited to march in Lunar New Year parade,” NY Daily News, Feb. 21, 2010 (

[xvi] Official Website – Assemblymember Evan Low Representing the 28th California Assembly District. (2019, October 14). Retrieved from

[xvii] National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), “Queer Asian Compass: A Descriptive Directory of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ) Asian American, South Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations” New York, NY. July 2009. (

[xviii] Hom, Alice Y. (30 January 2012). “Missed Opportunities: How Organized Philanthropy Can Help Meet the Needs of LGBTQ AAPI Communities.” Asian American/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP). Retrieved from