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Gay Asians of Toronto

Xtra ad for Gay Asians of Toronto


Photo of Gay Asians of Toronto meeting.



In October 1979 I drove to the first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights with my partner Tim McCaskell and our friend Tony Souza. We arrived a day early so Tony and I could attend the first Third World conference, which brought together hundreds of black, Latino/a and Asian American lesbians and gays.

Coming from Toronto, where on any given night in a gay bar you could count the number of Asians - or any people of colour - on one hand, I was stunned but exhilarated when, on entering the building, I was scooped up by a cluster of women and men to form an Asian caucus. Over that weekend, we listened to speeches by leaders like Audre Lorde and we talked to delicious exhaustion. The Asian caucus fashioned a banner proclaiming "Asian Gay and Proud," which we paraded through the streets of Washington.

After the conference, I was keen to reproduce the high that was Washington, the first time that my intersecting ethnic and sexual identities found a space to come together. I put a personal ad in The Body Politic, and soon Tony and I met Nito Marquez and Gerald Chan, who had written a landmark article in The Asianadian magazine about being gay and Asian. We met with writer Suniti Namjoshi and the couple of Asian lesbians we knew in the Toronto scene, but they felt that a mixed gender group wasnt feasible at that time. In the end, the four of us launched Gay Asians Toronto in 1980.

Visit the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives to find out more about Gay Asians of Toronto.

Richard Fung

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