As a gay Asian man I’m outraged at HBO’s Looking and I’m calling for a boycott of the show by all self-respecting gay Asian men.
Why should gay Asian men boycott HBO’s Looking
Where is Looking set? San Francisco.
What percentage of San Francisco is Asian? 33.3%
And how many of Looking’s main characters are Asian? Zero.
I can forgive Looking’s creators for lot of things – the contrived dialogue or the way they make San Francisco’s MUNI look like the New York Subway. I mean, you have to take a few liberties to make a show interesting.
But did they honestly think no one would notice that their characters don’t look like San Francisco gay men? That maybe they left out an ethnic group that practically saturates whole areas of the city?
You might argue that Queer as Folk, the groundbreaking gay drama that HBO debuted in 2000 left out Asians in addition to Latinos, Blacks and even dark haired whites. But America has changed drastically since then, and this is San Francisco, not Pittsburgh where Queer as Folk was set.
The fact is, gay Asians are an integral part of San Francisco’s LGBT fabric. We’re everywhere. So why don’t we deserve a main character? It would weave the whole rice queen-potato queen dynamic into the storyline which would make the show eight times more interesting.
HBO is doing the whole world a disfavor by leaving us out. For better or worse, the world looks to American culture to lead on a number of things, and gay culture is no exception. They could have used this as an opportunity to portray an Asian (or black) gay man struggling with his identity, covert racism, and eeking out a place for himself in the gay hierarchy. You know, like gay minority men do in real life. And it could have been inspirational to young gay minority men who struggle not only with their sexuality but how it clashes with their culture and puts their physical and mental health at risk.
We’re still at a point where gay isn’t quite 100% normal, and a show like Looking HBO makes waves far beyond our shores. HBO, you’ve disappointed me. I know it’s complicated to portray different races together and you’re just making an entertaining show that hopefully makes you money. But while you’re at it, please don’t leave out 33% of gay men in San Francisco and pretend like we don’t exist. We’re a part of this city and without us, you aren’t showing anything resembling gay life in San Francisco.