By Brittany Chiu


How many people do you know are AAPI and identify as LGBT?


The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law’s 2021 report, “AAPI LGBT Adults in the U.S.: LGBT Well-Being at the Intersection of Race”, sheds light on a significant demographic within the LGBT community. Of the 11.3 million LGBT adults in the U.S., approximately 40% belong to minority groups, with 3% identifying as Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI). This translates to roughly 685,000 AAPIs who grapple with a distinctive set of challenges. Yet, these statistics only scratch the surface of the complexities faced by Asian American LGBT individuals.


Rooted in cultural norms and familial expectations, many struggle to reconcile their sexual or gender identities with societal pressures. Coming out, a pivotal moment for many LGBT individuals, becomes a daunting prospect amidst fears of rejection or violence, exacerbated by deeply ingrained traditions. Moreover, language barriers further isolate AAPI LGBT individuals, hindering their access to crucial support systems and community resources. Mainstream LGBT spaces often lack cultural sensitivity, compounding feelings of alienation. Discrimination, both within their communities and broader society, adds another layer of challenge, impacting employment, healthcare, and social opportunities. Shockingly, the report reveals disparities in health insurance coverage, with 13% of AAPI LGBT adults uninsured compared to 10% of their non-LGBT counterparts. Even within the LGBT community, harmful stereotypes persist, such as the derogatory term “rice queen.” Only recently have movies and shows like “Fire Island”, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”, and “Never Have I” begun to spotlight the nuanced experiences of Asian American LGBT individuals, bringing their struggles to the forefront.


Despite these obstacles, many AAPI LGBT individuals exhibit remarkable resilience, forming supportive networks and advocating for change. Their experiences underscore the pressing need for intersectional activism and support systems, acknowledging the unique challenges faced by those navigating multiple layers of marginalization.