During the month of May, we commemorate and celebrate Asian Pacific Islander American Heritage Month. This month was chosen in recognition of two historical events: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, which was constructed by Chinese immigrant laborers. While we’ve celebrated Asian and Pacific Islander American contributions in May since 1992, many have only just begun truly recognizing the “APIAHM” since the rise in anti-Asian hate that was a result of misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This hate isn’t new and our need for visibility and support is not new. Our voices are being heard more than ever. As we saw our elders violently pushed to the ground, and grieved for our women who were gunned down at the Atlanta Spa shootings, only to rehash our wounds during Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, many asked how they can support. Support and allyship are continual and dynamic.
During “APIAHM” there are many events that San Diegans can support organized by the same group of organizations that put out the statement calling out the hate and xenophobia. The organizations are as diverse as the Asian Pacific Islander American umbrella. I encourage folks to come out and support with resources and help build capacity.
As we mark Queer and Transgender Asian and Pacific Islander (QTAPI) Week, coinciding with APIAHM in May and International Pride Month in June, it is essential to recognize the power and importance of intentional spaces for intersectional identities in our community.
The week of May 28 to June 3 celebrates the strength and resilience of the Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and Desi American (APIMEDA) community, and uplifts the joy and pride of being part of the LGBTQIA+ community. This recognition is especially crucial in the face of the continued and escalating racist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, classist, and misogynistic violence against both communities.
Since the onset of the pandemic, we have experienced an increase in support for the APIMEDA community during APIAHM. While this visibility is vital, it is crucial to ensure that our efforts extend beyond raising awareness. We must match this visibility with actionable items and equitable investment that create tangible change and foster greater equity for the QTAPI community.
In a city as diverse as San Diego, it is imperative we acknowledge the unique challenges faced by individuals who exist at the intersections of multiple marginalized identities. By creating intentional spaces for intersectional identities, we not only empower marginalized individuals but also advance social justice for all. To support the QTAPI community, it is essential to raise awareness, allocate resources to organizations working with them, advocate for policy changes, and engage in dialogue.
By creating and supporting intersectional spaces, we celebrate the resilience and strength of the APIMEDA and LGBTQIA+ communities while educating the broader public about the unique challenges faced by those with intersecting identities, ultimately contributing to a more inclusive and just world.
Intersectional spaces serve as safe havens for individuals, allowing them to share experiences, connect with others facing similar struggles, and thrive in an environment free from prejudice or discrimination. These spaces are crucial for fostering understanding and empathy, bridging gaps between diverse communities, and promoting a more inclusive and equitable society.
Historically, AAPI spaces have been experienced by those in the LGBTQ+ community and extremely homophobic and transphobic. Conversely, it should be shocking to no one that historically most LGBTQ+ spaces have been extremely racist to BIPOC community. This lived reality only underscores the importance of creating, supporting, and investing in intersectional QTBIPOC spaces and organizations build by and for those who share these unique and culturally rich lived experiences.
I encourage you all to support organizations who are doing this work like San Diego Pride and their QAPIMEDA Coalition program which is producing an array of these intentional spaces in honor of QTAPI Week.
- May 28 – QTAPI Sunday Funday at InsideOUT
- May 30 – Queering AAPI History at Diversionary Theatre, Clark Cabaret
- May 31 – Rainbow Canvas at San Diego Pride Office
- June 1 – Snoice to Meet You! at Snoice, Paradise Hills
- June 2 – Night Light at Kate Sessions Park
- June 3 – QTAPI at Convoy at HIVE
As we celebrate QTAPI Week and APIAHM in San Diego and beyond, let us be mindful of the necessity for intentional spaces that promote intersectional identities, and the importance of pairing visibility with actionable items. Together, we can work towards a more equitable society that recognizes and honors the rich tapestry of experiences and identities that make up our vibrant city. By embracing and supporting intersectional spaces, we not only uplift the voices of the QTAPI community but also contribute to the ongoing struggle for social justice for all.