Why Gay Men Say No To Asians

Living in a heterogeneous place like Australia, I’ve been fortunate enough not to have experienced racism. The case is, however, different as a gay Asian men. Sure, I’ve had my share of hook up challenges – the typical “no physical attraction” or none of that “Zsa Zsa Zsu” feels as Carrie Bradshaw famously called it. But I’m not referring to that – I’m talking about the “No Asians” struggle that gay Asian men face in 2018. Yes, in 2018.

For a group that’s supposed to be synonymous with inclusion, the gay community is one of the most discriminatory where, unsurprisingly, chiseled whiteness reign. Guys exclude others out of their radar not just because of physical appearances – which explains the high percentage of gay men with body image issues – but also skin colour. Jump on Grindr and it won’t be long before you see profiles with “No fats, no fems, no Asians” headlines in countries with a largely white population. 

A few months ago, Instagram user Ziad Stephan asked popular profile @hoscos why it doesn’t post imagery of “men of colour and beautiful men who don’t fit the body image that’s portrayed within the community”. @hoscos responded with several images of muscular black men. When pressed further, he finally replied, “I wish I could post thicker people but I cannot find photos that make me fall in love. Or even Asians.”

Hold on, sis. Firstly, Stephan’s question didn’t specifically ask about Asians. And secondly, even though the entire conversation was exchanged in a DM – and should I even pretend to be shocked that there are still users who aren’t aware of the screenshot functionality – why would @hoscos think it’s ok to single out Asians without repercussions? We’ll get to the latter in a bit but to be honest, the answers are predictable more than they’re surprising. 

While I’m now happily married, I’m fully aware that gay (and straight) Asian men remain largely marginalized, sadly stereotyped and undesirable. But why is that? I ask some members of the community for their opinions.

David M., Caucasian American and married to his Asian American partner

We live in a very masculine charged world where you’ll often see headlines such as “masc 4 masc” on Grindr profiles or bottoms being shamed. Guys with Asian heritage are perceived to be small, soft and even feminine, all of which are contradictory to the masculine culture.

As another stereotype, all “Asian men are thought to have small penises, which doesn’t work in their favour since size matters in the gay community. Someone once said to me that I must have a small penis because only white guys with small genitals would date Asians.

A few friends had also given me a hard time for dating men from the Asian community asking  wouldn’t I prefer going out with a guy who’s a challenge.

FOLLOW David on Instagram @tn2sd

Sam J., Asian American living in China

People who consume​ ​media and lack the ability to analyze what they’re watching are the ones most likely to reject hooking up with gay Asian men. The stereotype where Asian guys have small penises also leads to some gay guys saying no to us. 

I’ve never personally seen “no blacks” or “no Hispanics” on Grindr profile headlines. It’s possible that “no Asians” is an unspoken code for saying no to all people of colour but since Asians are perceived as meek and the racial group who are least likely to be offended, we become the blanket word for no people of colour.

FOLLOW Sam on Instagram @samjcan

David L., Caucasian Canadian and married to his Asian Canadian partner

For a long time, Asian guys have been depicted as emasculated, non-attractive and un-sexy in the Western media and that’s a problem since misportrayal creates misconceptions. They’re the nerdy friend, the sidekick and never the strong figures. It also doesn’t help when public figures like Steve Harvey discredits dating Asian men.

FOLLOW David L. on Instagram @huey_david

Anonymous, Asian living in Germany

Asians tend to be skinnier, shorter and have smaller eyes, none of which are masculine traits. That could be a reason why Asian women are hypersexualised and popular with heterosexual guys while it’s the complete opposite for Asian men in the gay community.

The Asian upbringing is also one where we’re raised to be humble, modest and selfless. We weren’t taught about self-love or to be confident which is a disfavour since confidence makes a person attractive.

I have more “luck” going out with Westerners in China than in Germany because of the unfamiliarity with Asian culture in places where it’s predominantly white.

Arthur T., Asian American living in Hong Kong

I think what causes the sentiment behind the “No Asians” statement within the gay community has a lot to do with the racist government exclusionary acts against Asians in the US and other parts of the Western world like Australia, which were then exacerbated by decades of caricature portrayals of Asian men.

American media, which is controlled and facilitated by white patriarchy, intentionally chooses Asian male characters they can mock, like William Hung from American Idol. Even PSY’s popularity in the Western world was partly because he fit into the Western narrative of what an Asian man should be like – a sideshow.

FOLLOW Arthur on Instagram @bornstylish

The world is ultimately separated into two groups – white and non. When gay guys say “No Asians” on their Grindr profiles – even when they vehemently defend it’s just a preference thing – it’s an extension of white colonisation and these gay guys are a product of white superiority complex. In short, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Asian guys.

Street Style Poser
About me

Henry Ng is a writer, photographer, stylist and consultant. Henry found success owning his own menswear label, Orri Henrisson, before moving into digital marketing where his creative and strategy skills are highly sought after. Henry’s passion for menswear and travel saw him launching Street Style Poser. Henry loves all things bright and colourful, karoke, Kristen Wiig, and salted caramel anything!


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Reply July 3, 2018

Great perspectives here. I always like your blog and insights.
2 comments I'd like to include:
1) As a white guy who has a preference for dating asian men I sometimes find reverse racism in the form of asian men thinking I see them only as an accessory and question my integrity and morals for specifically wanting to date asian men which can sometime leave a bad taste in my mouth. 2) Its till a shame as well when friends imply that dating asian men is seen as an easier option or not as serious as dating someone of the same nationality.
Keep up the good work :)

    Street Style Poser
    Reply July 4, 2018

    Thanks for reading and the comments. I absolutely see where you're coming from on reverse racism and in many ways, part of the Asian community is as much at fault. You have some who question your integrity and you have others who are only dating you because you're white. There's much to talk about!

Eric Cy.
Reply July 23, 2018

Well written. I appreciate how different perspectives are contributing to the topic. I am Asian myself. Although I have never experienced racism in the dating scene directly, because I don't use dating apps, I know racism still exists in daily life and many whom defend their racist views try to diverge attentions away form the issue such as by altering language. The reason I don't use dating app is because I know many Asian men have reported that they have experienced racism on the apps, and that such kind of everyday racism is blunt and even proud. It also makes me kind of afraid of dating white men because whiteness has always been portrayed as the ultimate beauty and a symbol of power, and this is even true in Asian countries. I am afraid of dating white men is because of this imbalanced power dynamic, and I don't want to contribute to this power dynamic. This has been a terrible struggle for me because I do find some white men very attractive and adorable, but there is this social stigma that prevent me from going further.

    Street Style Poser
    Reply July 23, 2018

    Hi Eric

    Thanks for reading. I wanted opinions from people or whose partners have experienced sexual racism so it doesn’t look like I’m making this up. I will say this issue is more prevalent in countries like America, Australia, UK, Canada and Europe where the population is predominantly white. It is unfortunate that this is still happening and I can completely understand the imbalanced power dynamic you referred to which has caused many guys to hold back because they don’t want to be disappointed or even attacked. However don’t let anyone stop you from doing anything or going after what you want! We have come too far to let anyone push us back.

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