Thursday, February 16, 2017

What Do Gay Asian Men Need?

As the one-year mark approaches of the suicide of my dear friend, Wayne, I start to wonder, what the true needs of my fellow gay, Asian men are. We did not see his pain or outlook on life. He was quiet but always seeming to appreciate the people and the world around him. He did not communicate his needs, or if he needed help at all.

It wasn't an issue of language, as his first language was English. As I've delved into the gay, Asian community as my own personal mission, simply making that connection is typically the issue. But taking that for granted, I never knew what was in his heart, in his soul.

Then again, I assume there was pain. I guess it's easy to assume pain is what drove him to take his life. All the time I knew him, I only saw strength. A quiet strength. That's why his death baffles me.

What do gay, Asian men need? What do men need? What do we ultimately need?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Being the Plumbing System

When considering why this blog and its sister blog, Gay Asian Male Express exist, it's to create a flow of information to the gay, Asian male community. Here's a project that's trying to plug into that network. It's a film by a first-time director who had it debut at the Sundance Film Festival. It's playing in Chicago at the Reeling Film Festival.

Here's the description:

“Steamy” might seem like a stereotypical word to describe this hot, hot drama but it’s also fittingly apt. David Cho, a second-generation Korean-American living in Los Angeles, is a quiet and devoted son who works in his parent’s restaurant and, following tradition, accompanies them to the Korean spa for steam baths and scrubs. When his parents are forced to close their restaurant, they become more focused on their dreams of a prosperous future for David. But David has other ideas and wants to make money his own way. When he takes a night job at the spa, he suddenly discovers another side to it and becomes immersed in a sea of covert sexual thrills and indulges in a variety of gay illicit hookups, his erotic fantasies eclipsed by the reality of the nocturnal environment of the spa. Now, David must reconcile his obligations to his struggling immigrant family with his burgeoning sexual desires. Andrew Ahn’s directorial debut, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, SPA NIGHT skillfully presents an honest depiction and fresh perspective of the Korean-American experience and features strong, complex performances.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Gay Asians Gather in Chicago

Two social groups, Asians & Friends and Long Yang Club, are gathering in Chicago this Labor Day weekend. Here's photos from one of the first parties. The weekend will include a boat cruise and a gala dinner. Here's the link.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

My Yellow Mask

So last night I was in a gay bar, one of those with a back room. Often there's a code of silence in the outdoor patio between the main bar and the covered, boom-boom room. But that's not always the case. Gays are gays, we chat, laugh and drink. It's not a library or church by any means.

So in comes this cute Asian guy I've been talking to. The bartenders love him. He's always smiling and chatting. That's why I like him too. Upbeat, easy on the eyes. Let's call him Brent. So I think, what a great opportunity to tell Brent about our gay, Asian conference, IFCON 2016, that will be happening here in Chicago over Labor Day. Two hundred folks from the Asians & Friends chapters from across the country will be coming here to be with us.  I'm one of the volunteers on the organizing committee. We'd love to have this guy Brent show up and be part of all that gay Asian (and the men who love us) bonding.

I hand him some info, say what the conference is about and he says back, "But I'm only half Filipino."

I'm thinking, "Who cares?" but say something like, "You'll pass."

So later, I'm in that back patio with my drink, talking across the space to another patron--who happens to be Asian--and Brent sits down with us. "Angel, you're too loud," Brent says.

I think, "What the F?"

I was chatting with the guy across the patio but believe me, I wasn't being loud.

"What?" I ask, "I was just talking."

Far from being the upbeat person Brent normally is, he blurts out in this surprising frustration, "You're just too loud!"

I'm thinking, okay, okay. I'm not sure what's going on but I smile and leave to the front bar. Hell, I think I even apologized.

So this morning, I'm connecting the dots. "I'm only half Filipino." That's what he said when I basically told him, "Hey, you're Asian. Come to this Asian conference."

I think he was actually saying to me, "Angel, I'm not that Asian."

Hell, I'm not that Asian too. I'm pretty white or "American" under the skin. But the fact is, I'm still Asian. More Filipino and a quarter Chinese. But no one cares. I'm Asian. That's what non-Asian gays see first and foremost. And I know that here, in Chicago, if I were me and white and standing in the boom-boom room in a down jacket, sweats and birkenstocks, they'd be all over me.

And my loud mouth.

I'm thinking Brent wasn't frustrated with me being "loud," he was frustrated with me. Or him. Or something that he thinks he's not ... but he is.

I know, heavy stuff right? But before I go on, ladies and gentlemen, can I just say that even here in gay middle America, you can be cute and Asian?

I remember deferring to Brent's anger last night because I knew he wasn't angry at me. And I know he's got a heart. 

And I know I can be annoying, potentially obnoxious. But I'm also effervescent, funny and witty. It's my curse. 

So here's my conclusion--and my truth. We all have demons. Unhappy gremlins festering within us. We all have doors to open. Things to discover about ourselves. I'll just meet him again, hopefully on the other side of one of those doors.

Yours with respect,

Angel Bright

Saturday, June 18, 2016


It's never easy to stumble. To realize something is your fault. Sometimes it takes a while to truly figure out you're your worst enemy. After the Orlando shootings I realized that I could do more. That I fritter away time like it was water. Like it wasn't of value. In some parts of the world, women walk for miles just to bring home water--every day. I've sloughed off on the couch, watching reruns of shows long ago wrapped. Actors who are five, six, seven years older. Shadows. Ghosts.

Today I am a soldier. What I do is build community. That's my job. And the more bonds I build, the more resources I gather, the more energy I direct, the more they diminish.

The truth is, they are powerful and hungry. They are emboldened by a truth that is as real to them as my own. But when they come for me, my truth will be stronger.

Yours in defiance,

Angel Bright

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tying to a Mission

Part of the goal of this blog and for many of my activities within the gay Asian community is to develop a support system and safe, social environments. To that end, I've been approached by a group trying to interview gay Asian Pacific Islanders (API) in Chicago to better understand their health-care needs. Here's a flyer.

Yours in Good Health,

Angel Bright

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Raising Funds

Fundraisers can be a pain, but if planned far enough in advance and with enough people behind the cause, it can be a joy--and fun. So in the spirit of putting the fun back in fundraiser, here's "No Business Like Monkey Business," a Loony Lunar Musical Review to benefit Asians & Friends Chicago and its efforts to mount IFCON 2016 in the Windy City over Labor Day. It'll be Sunday, May 22, 2016, at 1 p.m. at Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted in Chicago. $20 gets you a free drink. See you there!