Yuki / Japan
“When I was 18, I almost jumped off an eight-story building in Tokyo.
I am an only child and my family had always told me to ‘prosper and populate the family’. When I realized I was gay, I wished I had not been born. After my only gay friend actually committed suicide (I never forget that day), I became motivated to save the lives of gay people and, to be honest, myself. Finally, against my friends’ advice, I came out to my parents. They were devastated at first but gradually became supportive and suggested that I move to a place where gays are more accepted, somewhere I could raise kids in a committed relationship.
So, I immigrated to Canada, which, in 2008, was one of the five countries where I could legally marry another man. I thought Canada and the U.S. where I subsequently lived were a utopia for out gays.
What I’ve witnessed instead was a subtle form of racism. When I started searching for a boyfriend, I was shocked to find numerous offensive online profiles such as ‘NO BLACKS/ASIANS’. To my further surprise, many of those who only date white gays are not only whites but also Asians and other men of color. I feel many non-white gays trying to assimilate into mainstream white queer community by dating or marrying Caucasians — ironically disavowing racial identities in exchange for their sexual identities. The phenomenon is so prevalent in the western gay community that it could adversely affect the self-esteem of non-Caucasians who are proud of their heritage.
As the world has seen tremendous progress in terms of legal rights for gays (though to a lesser extent for transgenders), I think we just need to keep on communicating and trying to make the world a better place one step at a time. Many amazing gay rights activists have addressed racial issues in the LGBT community. Who would have expected even a year ago that two Tokyo wards start issuing the same-sex marriage certificate? We sure live in exciting times and I am confident that the world gets better because of people like you.”
12 comments on “Yuki”
tHANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR COMMENTS. AS A LAWYER, I ALWAYS LOVE TO STIMULATE DEBATE AND EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO EXPRESS HIS/HER OPINIONS (ALTHOUGH YOU MAY WANT TO KNOW THAT’S A PRIVILEGE ONLY HALF OF US IN THE WORLD CAN ENJOY) AND I LOVE TO HEAR THEM.
FIRST, i HAVE NO DOUBT THAT RACISM EXISTS IN JAPAN; I JUST COULDN’T WRITE EVERYTHING I WANT IN THIS SHORT ESSAY.
MY POINT OF THIS ESSAY IS TO RAISE AWARENESS OF WIDESPREAD oBSESSION WITH “WHITE BEAUTY/SUPREMACY” VIA MEDIA AND OTHER MEANS IN NORTH AMERICA, EUROPE AND ASIA (JAPAN MAY BE AN EXCEPTION). I’VE PERSONALLY ONLY DATED NON-WHITE GUYS (IT JUST HAPPENED) AND EXPERIENCED FIRST HAND EXTREMELY RACIST REMARKS AND BEHAVIOR WHEN I WAS WITH MY BLACK EX-BOYFRIEND, FOR EXAMPLE. WHILE I HAVE NEVER ENCOUNTERED ANY RACIST REMARKS WHEN I AM WITH WHITE GAY FRIENDS. IS IT JUST MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE? MAYBE.
“WHILE I HAVE NEVER ENCOUNTERED ANY RACIST REMARKS WHEN I AM WITH WHITE GAY FRIENDS. IS IT JUST MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE? MAYBE.”
Why do you assume that your experience of having non-racist gay white friends is unique? Most gay people and most white people are not racist. Most do not say or think racist or derogatory things about other races, etc. My boyfriend is KOrean (from Korea) and we live in another country from either of our home countries. After COVID happened, there were several OCCASIONS where black people were racist towards him. Does he or I think that all or most black people are racist? No.
I’m a non-white expat living in Japan, myself, and I have to agree with Yuki with the notion that the stigma is real in western culture and society. There’s this ideology that white is beautiful and that anything else is the lesser equivalent. Although I’ve come across some Japanese men who are also interested in other Japanese men, I don’t believe it has anything to do with race. I think it has to do with cultural and linguistic differences, and not ethnic preferences (as Ale S. seems to believe is the case). Back in the States, I frequently read profiles from gay men who were strictly advertising that they weren’t interested in certain ethnicities, whereas here in Japan, I don’t believe I’ve seen or read someone’s dating profile that said this. As a matter of fact, I’ve actually been told by several Japanese men that they prefer foreigners over most Japanese men. I believe there is a line to be drawn between preference and prejudice, and I think most Japanese men and society base their attraction of others by preference, whereas people from the west base theirs on stereotypes and prejudice.
I believe he was just stating that people of color in western communities have decided to marry caucasians….mostly as a form of acceptance. This has to be terribly frustrating for an Asian man attracted to Asian men. My advice for you, Yuki, is to find someone great to love. I told my mom once that I was only going to date black men. She said “It’s hard enough to find anyone to love at all that will honestly love you back. Don’t confine yourself”. I have been with the same great (white) guy for 17 years. Just saying: you never know where you’ll find love and what it will look like.
Honestly, if someone is looking at their partner and seeing their skin colour as being a problem, its racism. There’s plenty of white gay men in both Canada and the US, etc that are attracted to asian men, black men, etc. Its time to stop grouping people together because of a few assholes – I see plenty of black men have sexual racism in their profiles but never are called out for it – its allowed for some reason – but I don’t go on acting like all or most black men feel that way…I don’t think they do.
This article is disgustingly racist. As a Caucasian living in Japan, I can assure you that most Asian gay people here date exclusively other Asians and make it clear on dating applications. Having a preference for people with the same ethnic background is a phenomenon which is common to most communities. Calling this as a “subtle form of racism … prevalent in the western gay community” is highly offensive towards western gay people, but, most of all, it is hypocrite. Before judging so harshly what you call “the western gay community”, learn about your own community.
(sorry but I can’t turn my capslock off)
As a Caucasian living in Japan I totally agree with you. Outside the “gaisen” scene, most Japanese (at least in the big city) are just not interested in non-Japanese, it´s clearly stated in their profiles and trying to make any kind of relationship with them is virtually impossible. You´ll always be referred to as “the outsider” in all senses, and you´ll be treated as such.
In some bars, saunas (both sexual and non sexual) and hotels you can still find signs at the entrance that say “only Japanese” 日本人のみ.
It’s a shame that the gay community of places like north american or even europe be like so racist and xenophobic.
Charles Celeste – The gay community and all communities have racism in it, regardless of the country or region. Not to mention, things like outcasting gay men and women who don’t tow the political lines that “the community” demands.
Good for you!! :)
@Ale S － Sorry, can’t seem to turn my capslock off, not angry. Well, a little angry. See here’s the thing; Calling out racism is not the same thing as racism itself. I also am LGBTQ, and a biological woman, living in Japan. Racism (and sexism) in Japan sure is real, but it is in the states too. In fact, it’s so prevalent there’s a term you should really look up called “sexual racism”. Also, check out this hilarious Daily Show segment; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sexual-racism-the-daily-show_us_5710aa9ce4b0060ccda2e97d
Sorry, meant to reply on an earlier comment! My bad!