Freedom for All Americans Speaks Out Against AAPI ViolenceBy Shane Stahl • March 24, 2021 • 1:39 pm
Every time, it hurts.
Every time, we ask the question: When will this end?
Every time, there is a commitment to continue doing the important work of education and raising awareness, and not silencing our voices. And so, we mourn, and we reflect; we wipe away the tears and protest the injustice and vow, “Never again.” But it never gets easier, and there’s the rub—in order to keep moving forward we cannot become numb to the effects of violence on each of us and as a collective.
It is our duty to advocate for all who are harmed by injustice. The uptick in violence against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) is a stark reminder that the work of protecting people of all backgrounds and identities is never finished. In the past year alone, nearly 3,800 anti-Asian incidents—including shunning, slurs and physical attacks—were recorded, the majority against women.
The threat of harassment and discrimination is compounded for members of the AAPI community who also identify as LGBTQ, and it starts young. According to GLSEN, 2 in 5 AAPI LGBTQ students report experiencing both anti-LGBTQ and racist harassment at school. Furthermore, over 90 percent of AAPI LGBTQ students report hearing homophobic and transphobic remarks on a regular basis.
All Americans must stand up and unite to support the equal dignity and worth of our AAPI friends, family members, neighbors and coworkers. The action that requires is integral to our mission of ensuring dignity and respect for all LGBTQ Americans. We are all better off when each of us is treated with dignity and respect. We will not rest until every LGBTQ American can live free from discrimination, harassment and violence.
We’ve been lucky enough to work alongside incredible AAPI colleagues and storytellers, who have shared their own stories as well as worked to end LGBTQ discrimination. People like Amazin Lethi, a former competitive bodybuilder who speaks often about the intersections of her Asian cultural identity, sexual orientation, and gender identity, and the importance of leveraging her athletic platform to inspire other Asian athletes to come out and be themselves. Or X Xue, a transgender Chinese immigrant who works to serve as a role model for those in his community who may not have others to look to for guidance and advice.
Freedom for All Americans was founded with a distinct purpose—to ensure that all LGBTQ Americans can live their lives free from prejudice and discrimination. But the truth is this: We will never reach that goal if we do not include within it a commitment to working to overcome systemic racism and violence. As an organization dedicated to securing equal treatment for all LGBTQ Americans, we stand in solidarity with our AAPI LGBTQ community members—and all AAPI Americans.
ACTION AND ACTIVISM OPPORTUNITIES
Here are some great resources and organizations working to further the safety and dignity of AAPI LGBTQ Americans:
GAPIMNY (New York-based)