Asians Less Likely To Come Out

As it’s Halloween, we thought we’d open with this story. While not necessarily “scary” in the traditional sense, the implications certainly have the potential to cause some petrifying aftershocks.

According to a new study, gay Asians in New Zealand are less likely than any other group to discuss their sexuality publicly, if at all. The New Zealand Herald reports:

The study found that while Asian-born immigrants were aware of having same-sex attractions at an earlier age, they were less likely to tell friends, family or colleagues as they grew older.

Only 3 per cent of non-Asian respondents said they hadn’t disclosed their identity to anyone, compared with 15.3 per cent of Asian people.

[Study coordinator] Dr. Henrickson said Asian gays were much more likely to remain isolated because they tended to only make contact with other gay and lesbians on the internet.

While this may not seem like that big of a deal to some, the implications may be deadly. If gay Asians can’t find it in themselves to confront and embrace their sexuality, they may be more likely to have hazardous sexual encounters. Further, as we all know, the anxiety around not coming out has a record of leading to depression, drug use, and/or suicide. All of which, of course, are no good.

So, why do these men and women find it so difficult to face their faggotry? Henrickson hypothesizes that “coming out” is a more Western ideal. He goes on:

Whereas people from western cultures are more likely to be open and positive about the fact that they are lesbian, gay or bisexual – ‘it’s me, it’s my major identity, who I am’ – Asians regardless of sexual orientation, regard their identity as linked to who their parents are, who they are married to…

While his statement reeks of stereotype, there may be some validity to it. Although, that opinion largely depends on where the subject comes from, i.e. a rural area v. an urban area, perhaps religion plays a role, or maybe none of the above…

Regardless, those are some pretty startling statistics.

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One Comment

  • fika

    As a gay asian man, I have to say that there is some truth in that study. If I didnt further my study in New York, and lived as an open gay person while I was there, it’s hard for me to say whether I would be an out person now. My college life and the extended gay family I’ve met thought me a lot about coming out to myself first, and not to see it as something I should be embarrassed about. It made it easier for me to be honest with people I do care about.

    I was also lucky that my conservative mom loved me enough not to kick me out when I came out to her. However I’m only out to her and my family, not to my relatives, because I dont want them to hurt her feelings with snide remarks and etc because I was the successful one in the family. As you’ve seen in many Asian oriented gay dramas, relatives are often competitive and they would stop at nothing if they see a chance to appear superior. However, other than the relatives, I am out at work, to friends, and to whoever that throws me the question..”Are you gay”. But to those who I dont think deserves my honesty, I am not.

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