I’m From Houston, TX – Video Story

by cory quach

My name is Cory Quach and I’m from Houston, Texas. The story that I want to talk about isn’t so much a specific story, it’s more about my experience as an Asian-American male, growing up in the U.S. and my experience in the gay community and dating in general.

On a lot of occasions, I get a lot of backhanded compliments of how cute I am for an Asian guy. Or I have to be part white or mixed race or something like that, you know, because of the way that I look.

There was this one time I was on a gay dating site, if you can call it dating, but I kind of did this social experiment. I created a profile and I posted my photos and a bio, and in the ethnicity section I put that I was Asian. I did that for about a week and monitored the number of hits I got. And after that I changed that ethnicity section to read “other” or “mixed race” or whatever it was and I noticed there was a remarkable increase in the number of hits I received. The reason that I wanted to do that was because of the experience that I’ve had being a person of color in the gay community, especially in a community that’s used to facing discrimination. You go to online sites like that and there are people out there who outright will say that they do not date Asian guys or they do not date black guys or whatever it is. And I understand preference and that people have certain preferences but when it comes to race, race is such a huge qualifier, that how can you possibly determine what a group of people look like or what you’re attracted to in a group of people, when in reality you haven’t met the whole population in that group.

Living in the society we live in today and being gay and having to face that level of discrimination, and then having to face that discrimination again within the community, it’s just one of those things where you think that, it’s 2009 and something like that doesn’t happen anymore, but it definitely does.


  1. That’s horrible. I love people of color. I love people of different religions, ethnicities and other diversities. Variety IS the spice of life.

  2. I’m glad you did that experience, Cory, though I’m sorry that what we thought was proven.

    This reminded me of an experience recently. I was out with friends at a club, where I met a guy that I spent most of the night with. The next day, my friends asked me which of two guys they saw me with I hung out with the most, and I responded with “the Asian guy”. The immediate response from one of my friends was “Ew”, and my jaw hit the floor. Mind you, she’s Latino. I couldn’t believe that even in my circle of extremely liberal, open minded friends, one of them would make such a disgusting comment like that. Yes, I have a preference- I like short blonde white guys. But that doesn’t mean everyone else is off the table. I can find you people of every race and ethnicity that I like, both physically and emotionally, and I can also find you short blonde guys that I don’t care for at all. If you drop those rules to who you will date, it will allow for a richer experience by meeting so many different types of people.

    And yeah…. I bitched her out for that one!

  3. I’ll give another perspective. I am a white guy living in a city that is predominantly Asian, somewhere on Canada’s west coast: :

    1. an Asian sees me talking to another Asian and comes up to me and says, “oh you like Asians (meaning, oh you will like me because I am Asian)” – or –
    2. an Asian i talk to in a bar says, “you like me only because I am asian, so fuck off”. I have to think, oh, gee, I suppose you are , but I saw a lot more than your ethnicity.
    Both attitudes indicate something, but I am not sure what.

    • I respect and believe your entitled your perspective, but it’s no where near Cory issues or any other. We as people of color will always be consider exceptional and when we’re dealing with ABC they only look at one color white, they don’t ask questions or stop to think your white blind cripple or crazy 8 to 80 as your as your white there in heaven

  4. Hey Dexter. I think your experience is another reason why we should be looking beyond race and look toward the individual. We often get trapped in these perceptions of how and why people respond to others based on our experiences. Whether it is exclusion or objectification, it does not feel good to be judged on race when we as individuals are so much more.

  5. Gay Asian guys are doubly hit over the head: first, white Americans may turn Asian guys into The Other because Asians may be seen as not fitting the sexually-desirable model white Americans may have for what a gay man should act like and look like; secondly, those white guys who prefer Asian guys also turn Asians into The Other, by making them excessively sexually desirable for what their race may be. No wonder Asian guys get pissed off.

  6. I should note that my response is partly informed by KEVIN K. KUMASHIRO’s essay “QUALITATIVE STUDIES IN EDUCATION: Supplementing normalcy and otherness: queer Asian American men reflect on stereotypes, identity, and oppression”, 1999, VOL. 12, NO. 5. I agree with part of the essay, but find much of it to be generalized beyond what is reasonable. I have a fond memory of going into the huge disco Tchaikovsky in Taipei many years ago. Of 310 people in there, 300 were Asian locals, and the rest of us were either dancers with the company of that famous American woman from the 1930s – what’s her name, and me. A Chinese guy came up and said to me, oh you must be very happy – so many Chinese men here for you. My reply was, well, I think perhaps 5 of them are attractive, and of them I’d ask 2 or 3 to come back with me. That got rid of him. It takes more than skin colour to turn me on. Personality is the second and more significant marker.
    The whole matter has always been confusing to me.

  7. You are really cute. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw your video was, ” I will really like to know this guy!!” well, best wishes from Singapore. =)

  8. Cory would only be a “person of colour” (what a ridicululous expression!) in the US; most of the rest of the world, certainly the gay world, wouldn’t give a shit.

    • Brian,
      I lived in various European countries (France, England, Italy, Germany, and Spain) and travelled extensively in others for 20 of my 40 years and that’s simply not true. All over the Western world, ESPECIALLY in Northern and Eastern European countries where race is often fetishized to an extreme degree, these kinds of stereotypes persist. Terms like “people of color” may not be the same, but the gay world, including in these places, definitely gives a shit.

      • Steven S. Dornbusch

        Mitch: Absolutely right!
        Exoticism is also part of the racist spectrum. Sexual expression sits front and center amongst the behaviors and attitudes Cory enumerates.
        Some interesting corollaries –same-ethnicity male / female relations– might be found in feminist discourse; I’m not qualified to add any of that here. And I’m not trying to take Cory’s valuable contribution off-target.

  9. Finally! It is common to think of racism as pertaining only to blacks and whites. We often overlook that Asians are a minority group (granted with not as many negative stereotypes as blacks) that face prejudice, too.

    • Um, that is not a factual statement what so ever, Asian men in the deal with the same if not more bs from White supremacist attitudes in gay as all others regardless of phenotype, in US, due to the fact that there numbers are smaller and tend to stick to predominantly monoculture enclaves you may not hear about their issues as much, but I can guarantee you it’s just as bad if not worse. We in the gay communities of color have to end this ” your blues ain’t as bad as mine” bs

  10. Steven S. Dornbusch

    Yeah, Cory’s super attractive. Cory speaks very thoughtfully. So have most of those of you who have commented. Racism and exoticism are more than two-sided. Way more. There are so many manifestations of exaggerated sexual / dating “preference”: the handsome black fellow that only goes with the least attractive white fellows, the Asian fellow who plays a role to please white men, more than please himself. The white guy with the same exact sexual expectations with every Asian fellow he shares a moment. It’s so stupid, so tiresome and restrictive! I don’t date any man who wouldn’t ever go for someone of their own ethnicity. Even though I might be the beneficiary of men of other ethnicities’ extreme “tastes”, count me out! I do have preferences, absolutely, mostly about personality, values, and behaviors (I consider fitness a manifestation of all 3). I’m white (mixed Jewish/gentile ethnically, actually). I rarely date white men. Or Jewish fellows, for that matter. I’ve dated and had relationships of substance with men that pretty much cover the ethnic / color spectrum. I will continue to look at the whole world of men as my oyster, looking for the next pearl who might want me as well.
    In the 1970’s my grandmother figured out I must be gay because…I had a handsome male African American traveling partner. She was no big time bigot. Just someone born in the early 1900’s of immigrants. What a compliment to the gay “community”! We all lied to her, to “not upset” her. What a crock!
    Of course “we” gay men aren’t that deserving but our flag (which I never use btw) is a rainbow, just as South Africa’s progressive post-apartheid constitution bravely states gays and lesbians have a shared role in making a much better world. Are white gays worse? Are white gays way better? Possibly just barely better for the way our common (anti-gay) oppression lumps us together. While some have clung to racism as a way to land above the gutter (Think Oscar Wilde) –the opposite reaction due to internalized oppression– many more have found greater commonality, and absolutely the enjoyment of the real person, not manifestation of anyone’s stereotype, whether feared or craved. Feminists have long noted how men oppressed by race, class, or caste may treat wives and all females like shit; piss runs downhill.
    My advice? No one gets a pass. Don’t let anyone off the hook, at work, on the street (If you’re safe!), or in your own family. This is how I’ve lived. It feels right. More adult. And a lot better way to relate to strangers. Worry less about labeling. Let deeds overtake lofty words. We can all do better, every person, of every background, for as long as we’re on this earth in making this a richer more equal place for all. Peace!

Comments are closed