The Ugly Gays

Racist desires expressed on Grindr
Racist desires expressed on Grindr

There’s something hideous filtering down through the asylum seeker debate. It’s a slow, creeping endorsement of cruelty. It’s giving confidence to otherwise decent people to hold and express views that they once kept in check.

This confidence to be cruel is also trickling into places where you’d think there would only be support, understanding and bonding between people through a shared experience of hardship.

I’m talking about within the LGBT community.

The gays are a diverse group of people who’ve fought hard for civil and human rights. During the recent federal election, our march forward seemed to have encountered an immovable obstacle in Tony Abbott, who won Government by promising, among other things, to take equal marriage off the agenda, to make way for “greater priorities”. And as history showed, Australia gave him his “mandate” to do so.

One of elected PM Abbott’s prioritised promises was to “Stop The Boats”, a fear-mongering call to arms that paraded as border security but it appealed especially to an electorate keen to keep “different” people from “different cultures” and “different races” out of our neighbourhoods.

You’d expect the LGBT community to be less supportive of that line of thinking, and to feel a sense of fraternity with other groups of people whose human rights are being ignored. Yet even in the LGBT community, there’s a growing confidence to be cruel. It takes the form of sometimes subtle, but more often than not outright racism.

Though on the surface, as racism often does, it masquerades as something else: the politics of desire. On the gay dating app Grindr for example, you’ll often see men indicate their preferences in their profiles. They’ll tell you what turns them on. Some men like muscles. Some men like body hair. Sometimes they’ll indicate whom they don’t want to hear from and this is where it begins to get nasty. No fatties. No fems.

By far the most prevalent demand is “No Asians”.

Sometimes it comes with an apology. “Not into Asians. No offence.” As if apologising makes it better and reduces it to just a quirk of your particular sexuality: a twisted version of the breakup cliché, “It’s not you. It’s me.”

Often there are no other indicators to temper the request. Just a simple “Not into Asians.” No list of other undesirables for an Asian gay to draw at least comfort in numbers from, like smokers or drama queens or people with partners wanting threesomes. It’s just a door slammed in the face of anyone of Asian descent.

It’s hard when the profiles are that succinct to read anything more into it, other than a clear desire to rid the gay world of all Asians. They seem to say, “This is our place, not yours.” which is only an anti-immigration bumper sticker away from “Fuck off, we’re full.”

Sometimes the ugliness isn’t softened and shows its true form. Like this message that was sent to a gay friend of mine who is Malaysian: It says, “Fukin Asian. Go back to your country. Tiny Abott (sic) says so. You are not welcome.”

This one spells it out plainly.
This one spells it out plainly.

Thankfully this appalling, outright, aggressive racism isn’t usual. For most gay Asian men the common rebuttal to contact takes the more subtle, faux apologetic form of “Sorry, no Asians”.

Though it’s less aggressive and threatening in its tone, there’s something even more damaging going on here for young gay Asian men who encounter this blunt rebuff to their advances. Something far more hurtful is being done to the fragile self esteem of this already marginalised group of men. Their belief in their own desirability is under attack, and not for any reason they can control.

Regardless of their grooming, how well they sculpt their bodies or whether they have been lucky enough to be born attractive, the message here is that they will always be less desirable than almost anybody else on the gay planet according to the other men on these apps. They’re being made to feel ugly because of their race.

Where then does that leave any young man who finds himself born gay and also Asian? Life starts to look pretty bleak for him. He’s possibly already marginalised, perhaps ostracised from his own cultural community and looking elsewhere for love, a partner, a sense of family. And what does it say about the men he hits up, who feel the need to air their dislike of Asian men in such overt ways?

How cruel have they become and from whom are they taking their lead? There’s permission being granted somewhere. There’s acceptance of this as a norm. The men who post these profiles on Grindr go to great lengths to make themselves look attractive, yet here they are saying something ugly. How convinced must they be of the acceptability of their racist views to accessorise their polished profiles this way? It’s a cruel day indeed when racism no longer turns people off and sometimes turns people on.

6 thoughts

  1. Haha, there are actually a lot of Asian men who are more attractive than their non-Asian counterparts in the gay (and straight) community.

    Also, it is one thing to think racially discriminatory thoughts but it takes a special kind of person to act these out by writing “no Asians” on their profile. And, what kind of people would want that kind of rubbish as a boyfriend, fuck buddy, friend or life partner?! I’d be so ashamed if I was their mother or father.

    Racism says way more about the attacker than it does the target.

  2. wow callum..your going to be old skinny and shrivel up someday. I pray that some is as kind to you as you are to those.

  3. It is very sad to see how shallow the “community” is in the western world. All these haters demonstrate their self-destruction and non-sustainable nature.

    Chinese gays are beautiful and love each other back in the Far East. Chinese gays have amazing talent and live in a peaceful life style. This type of high civilization is very difficult for other races to appreciate, not to mention a great number of gay emperors through out Chinese history and the prosperous gay culture over thousands of years. This well developed culture was temporarily interrupted by the Western invaders about a century ago but soon it will be restored and rebuilt. On the other hand, western gay culture is fairly new after a very long break (dark age). Believe or not, Chinese gays will become the new hot trophy boys ten years down the road.

    NB: Asia is a huge continent that covers Russia and entire Middle East etc. I always found it very funny to see westerners confuse themselves. Would you call someone from Arabic country “Asian”? Maybe it is time to review the map that drawn by the ancient westerners. What do you think?

  4. Before asians ask why other races aren’t into them, they should first ask why they aren’t into each other maybe they will find the answer there.

    You know, it would be easier if they just got sex changes, they are all so girly anyway, their pee pee is a small price to pay, pun intended as fuck, for their life long dream of getting fucked by a big white penis.

  5. Wow Callum… Miley Cyrus understood twerking and decorum better than you understood this blog, or indeed what it means to show empathy for your fellow human beings. Your comments are in fact more authentically offensive than the Grindr messages cited above. Whereas they are so extreme as to almost write them off as mere trolling, your expression of “violation” at sexual contact with the wrong race is genuine and truly ugly racism. In your mind to settle for an Asian penis is apparently to accept “anything”. If, as you claim, you do have Asian friends than I find it hard to believe that you look them in the eye and state the degrading comments expressed here. And if you do have friends you speak to in that way, then they must have very low self-esteem indeed, which is the effect of everything you stand for.

  6. I’m sorry, but as much as I see this as a fair attack on racist language and sentiment, I also see it as a guilt trip against those who aren’t sexually attracted to Asians. If you can’t get it up for someone because you don’t wish to share your body with someone, who is anyone to make you feel guilty for that? Your body, your choice. I don’t use race, gender, sexuality, or other factors as determiners in how I pick my company, but I have had sexual relations with an Asian on more than one occasion, even knowing at the time that I didn’t feel comfortable, and the effect on me, the way I felt, was really getting up there to how violated I felt after being with a woman. It’s not for me. Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean that I need ‘any’ penis. I’m also not attracted – nor could ever sleep with – old men, and I have yet to feel the inkling of an erection for someone very skinny or feminine men.

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