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    Steve Miller at IGF reports that the NGTLF has launched a new study of “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Americans.” Miller calls BS:

    Well, the gay Asian-Americans I know don’t feel particularly under-served in relation to the rest of us, and neither do they lament that they’re “under-researched and under-studied.”

    I actually think there’s something to that last bit. “Asian” seems to include everyone whose ancestors came from the arc from Pakistan to Hokkaido. Not exactly a paucity of variables to deal with. Nevertheless, who knows? There are some very broad similarities among immigrants from Asia when you look at them from 35000 feet up. Perhaps useful information about how to develop coping skills when you’re growing up gay could emerge from studying a population with a disproportionate percentage of members who were reared by parents who brought traditionalist family structures from the old country, who were sticklers about education, and who weren’t native speakers of English. All new truth is meaningful somehow, and different methods of acculturation do produce different results. Maybe strong extended-family ties make coming out initially more difficult but help to insulate people from feeling anchorless when make their own way in the world, for instance?

    But as Miller implies, you just know that that’s not the kind of information we’re going to get. For one thing, you can take the NGTLF’s LGBT API survey on-line. Hello, SLOPs problems! For another, besides the personal information questions to establish various identity-politics categories, everything is framed in terms of what’s been done to you. You know…Have you ever experienced harassment? What issues do you think are facing the API community? What does your religion think of homosexuality? I didn’t see an item that asked, “Has the pressure of being a member of a model minority ever made you cry?” I may just not have looked hard enough, though.

    In searching for evidence of discrimination with the resoluteness of truffle-hunting pigs in an oak forest, the NGTLF is missing the chance to discover whether there are elements of the broad Asian-American experience that affect how individuals take charge of their sexuality. That’s a disappointment, if not a surprise.

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