Press

Study of Asian Pacific American LGBT People Reveals High Rates of Discrimination

Date: 
February 08, 2005

Report Based on First Phase of National Study of Asian Pacific American Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People Reveals Disturbingly High Rates of Discrimination and Harassment

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Immigration, Hate Violence/Harassment, and Media Representation are the Most Important Issues Facing Community

"Asian Pacific American lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are often at the margins, experiencing discrimination in both the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities and the Asian Pacific American communities. The Queer movement must combat racism and the Asian Pacific American community must combat homophobia to create truly inclusive movements for social change." — Alain Dang, Policy Analyst, Task Force Policy Institute and the study's lead researcher.

New York, February 8, 2005 — A groundbreaking study released today by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute reveals that 82% of Asian Pacific American (APA) lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people surveyed had experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation, and the same percentage had experienced discrimination based on their race or ethnicity.

Asian Pacific American Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender People: a Community Portrait, by Alain Dang and Mandy Hu, is based on analysis of survey data from the first phase of what will be the largest multi-gender sample of APA LGBT people ever surveyed. The 124 study participants were drawn from the pool of attendees at the March 2004 Queer Asian Pacific Legacy regional conference at New York University in New York City. In the next phase of the study, survey data will be collected from APA LGBT people in U.S. cities with large APA populations, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

"The lives of Asian Pacific American lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people involve a complex web of issues arising from being sexual, racial/ethnic, language, gender, immigrant, and economic minorities. This survey sheds light on these issues and empowers community members to proactively create change," said Glenn D. Magpantay, steering committee member of Gay Asian & Pacific Islander Men of New York (GAPIMNY).

To that end, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force distributed surveys to conference participants in order to (1) identify issues of importance to community members, (2) gather information regarding experiences of community members in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and Asian Pacific American (APA) organizations, (3) gather socio-demographic information, and (4) examine APA LGBT community involvement.

Among the key findings of the report:

  • Nearly every respondent (95%) had experienced at least one form of discrimination and/or harassment in their lives. For example, 82% said that they had experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation, and 82% had experienced discrimination based on their race or ethnicity.

  • The three most important issues facing APA LGBT community members were immigration, hate violence/harassment, and media representation.

  • Nearly all respondents (96%) agreed that homophobia and/or transphobia is a problem within the APA community. And, over 80% agreed that APA LGBT people experience racism within the predominantly white LGBT community.

  • The majority of respondents felt that LGBT organizations inadequately address issues of race (58%), class (80%), and disability (79%).

Demographic Profile

  • Only 61% of respondents said that English was their native language, with respondents also likely to speak Cantonese, Tagalog, or Mandarin.

  • Nearly a dozen ethnicities were represented in the sample, including Chinese (33%), Filipino (17%), and Asian Indian (11%). Smaller numbers of Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese also participated.

  • Fifty-four percent of the participants were male, 40% female, and 5% identified as transgender.

  • Forty-three percent of respondents self-identified as gay, 13% said they were lesbian, while seven percent described themselves as bisexual and 38% chose the label "queer."

Asian Pacific American Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender People: A Community Portrait.
A Report from New York's Queer Asian Pacific Legacy Conference, 2004
is available at here.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute is a think tank dedicated to research, policy analysis, and strategy development to advance greater understanding and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.