The "Orphan of Zhao," a story of a boy who realizes his adopted father killed his entire clan, is often referred to as "Chinese Hamlet." So when a recent casting of the piece by the Royal Shakespeare Company hired only three east Asian actors in a cast of 17, the decision raised quite a few eyebrows in the UK.
The lack of Asian representation in theater is not a recent issue and isn't limited to England, however. A piece earlier this year in the New York Times showed that Asians, even more than other minorities, are dramatically underrepresented in theatrical productions: "Over the past five theater seasons Asian-American actors were cast in two percent of the roles in Broadway and major Off Broadway productions, while 80 percent of the roles went to white performers, 13 percent to black actors, and four percent to Hispanic artists."
In a play designed for Chinese characters, the bias seems to reach absurd levels of discrimination. Daniel York, a member of Equity's Minority Ethnic Artists’ Committee, has called for an apology from the RSC as well as a public forum discussing the burdens East Asian actors face in the acting world. York told The Stage: "This exclusion has been going on for far too long within the British stage and film industries. Colour-blind casting is a wonderful concept, unfortunately, it’s all one-way traffic. Something has to change. We are asking for fairness and a level playing field."
In response to the public's disapproving statements on Facebook and Twitter, the RSC's artistic director Gregory Doran and executive director Catherine Mallyon responded in a statement: "We do recognise that the lack of visibility for Chinese and East Asian actors in theatre and on screen is a live and very serious issue. We are beginning the process of talking to industry colleagues, representing employers and actors, to set up a forum for wider debate which we hope will make a meaningful difference." According to The Guardian, Doran had auditioned "lots and lots" of east Asian actors for the production, and made offers that were turned down. (York responded saying that "lots and lots" means eight east Asian actors, according to his findings.)
Yesterday York published a statement visible on My Asian Planet, stating the problem as far greater than a single casting decision from a respected company:
"British East Asian actors wish to participate in their own culture but this is being denied us. We are too often excluded from roles which are not East Asian-specific, yet when roles arise that are, we are also excluded. We applaud colour-blind casting, but colour-blind casting was created as a mechanism to afford more opportunities for all minority actors, not to give additional opportunities to Caucasian actors. At present, colour-blind casting fails British East Asians."
Do you think east Asian actors deserve an apology for the casting choices made by the RSC and other theaters? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
In the meantime, enjoy the slideshow below:
<a href="http://www.georgetakei.com">Takei</a>, 75, is a fierce advocate and voice for the LGBT and Asian communities. The former <em>Star Trek</em> star, who played Captain Hikaru Sulu, is a Los Angeles native of Japanese descent. Takei recently world-premiered <a href="http://www.allegiancemusical.com"><em>Allegiance</em></a>, a musical about Japanese-American internment camps, in September 2012.
Kim Coco Iwamoto
Kim Coco Iwamoto became the <a href="http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/equality-mag-interview-with-kim-coco-iwamoto">highest-ranked openly transgender official in the U.S.</a> when she won a seat on Hawaii's Board of Education in 2006. <a href="http://kimcoco.com/about/">Iwamoto</a>, of Japanese descent, has continuously advocated and worked with LGBT youth as a licensed therapeutic foster parent, lawyer and public figure.
Chinese-American actor BD Wong is well-known for his roles both on the small and big screens (<em>Law & Order: Special Victims Unit</em>, <em>Jurassic Park</em>, etc.). He received the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's <a href="http://www.asianweek.com/2003/05/30/bd-wong-saluted-by-glaad-actor's-memoir-tells-of-partner-twins-and-tragedy/">Davidson/Valenti Award</a> in 2003 and the Family Pride Coalition's <a href="http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/bd-wong/bio/141031">Family Tree Award</a> in 2005. Both honors salute his LGBT advocacy.
30-year-old <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/fashion/20close.html?_r=0">Jared Eng</a> is the founder of heavily visited pop culture website <a href="http://www.justjared.com">justjared.com</a> and <a href="http://www.justjaredjr.com">justjaredjr.com</a>. Eng grew up in Queens, N.Y., where he was raised by his Chinese-American parents. Eng made the prestigious <a href="http://www.justjared.com/2011/11/09/jared-eng-out-100/">"<em>Out</em> 100" list</a> in 2011.
The hilarious, lovable and self-proclaimed <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TQ04KsHNi8">"fag hag"</a> <a href="http://www.margaretcho.com">Margaret Cho</a> once wrote <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/margaret-cho/queer_b_984123.html">a blog on The Huffington Post</a> in which she said that the word "queer" is the "most fitting description" of her. Cho, 44, was born in San Francisco and is Korean-American.
Award-winning author-journalist <a href="http://www.speakoutnow.org/userdata_display.php?modin=50&uid=177">Helen Zia</a> advocates for many causes, including gay rights, women's rights and Asian-American visibility. Zia, who <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-gaywedding6_k2mik9nc,0,506171.photo">married her wife</a>, Lia Shigemura, in 2008, wrote in the <em>Amerasia Journal</em>, "With each individual who comes to realize that there are Asian queers and queer Asians, that space where the gay zone meets the Asian zone opens up a little more."
Dan Choi became the face of "don't ask, don't tell" when he first <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/07/dan-choi-fired-gay-arabic_n_199592.html">came out on <em>The Rachel Maddow Show</em> in 2009</a>. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lt-dan-choi">Lt. Choi</a>, who's Korean-American, was an Arabic translator in the Army National Guard and was discharged under the discriminatory policy that barred openly gay and lesbian soldiers from serving in the military. DADT was repealed in 2011.
<a href="http://www.afterelton.com/people/2012/08/raja-interview-rupaul-drag-race?page=0,0">Sutan Amrull</a>, perhaps better known as Raja, won the third season of <em>RuPaul's Drag Race</em>. The Indonesian-born drag performer, makeup artist and entertainer was also frequently seen on <em>America's Next Top Model</em>. In October Amrull participated in the L.A. launch of <em>Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay</em>, sharing his life story with an audience at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.
Broadway star <a href="http://www.afterelton.com/people/2012/01/telly-leung-from-glee-to-godspell">Telly Leung</a> got on our mainstream radars when he played Wes, a Dalton Academy Warbler, on <em>Glee</em>. Leung, who's Chinese-American and a native New Yorker, has had roles in <em>Wicked</em>, <em>Rent</em> and <em>Godspell</em> and currently stars alongside George Takei in <em>Allegiance</em>.
Chinese-born actress <a href="http://www.officialbailing.com">Bai Ling</a> has made appearances on hit shows such as <em>Lost</em> and <em>Entourage</em>. She spoke about her bisexuality in a <a href="http://www.examiner.com/article/actress-bai-ling-reveals-more-about-her-bisexuality-than-ever-before-exclusive-interview-part-1">2009 Examiner.com interview</a>.
Fashion designer Prabal Gurung dresses everyone from Hollywood stars to members of the D.C. elite, including fan Michelle Obama. Gurung, who was born in Singapore but raised in Nepal, won the Council of Fashion Designers of America's <a href="http://www.nbcnewyork.com/blogs/threadny/THREAD-CFDA-Winner-Prabal-Gurung-Talked-Up-Everyone-But-Himself-on-the-Red-Carpet-123345693.html">Swarovski Award for Womenswear in 2011</a>. In a <a href="http://www.elle.com/fashion/spotlight/prabal-gurung-s-color-block-dresses">2010 <em>Elle</em> magazine interview</a>, Gurung said his story was the "typical gay designer" one, having started sketching at just 11 years old.
Comedian, actor and self-proclaimed "America's Gaysian Sweetheart" <a href="http://www.hollywood.com/celebrity/471411/Alec_Mapa">Alec Mapa</a> was born and raised in a Filipino household in San Francisco. Mapa, 47, who's appeared on shows such as <em>Desperate Housewives</em> and <em>Ugly Betty</em>, is an LGBT-rights activist, working with the Human Rights Campaign and the Matthew Shepard Foundation, among others.
Jose Antonio Vargas
Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas declared in a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/magazine/my-life-as-an-undocumented-immigrant.html?pagewanted=all">2011 <em>New York Times</em> post</a>, "I'm done running. I'm exhausted. I don't want that life anymore," referring to his undocumented immigrant status and his life story, which involves leaving the Philippines at 12 and growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Vargas spent most of his professional career with <em>The Washington Post</em> and was with The Huffington Post for less than a year. The openly gay Filipino started <a href="http://www.defineamerican.com/page/about/about-defineamerican">Define American</a>, an organization that seeks to shed light on America's immigration system.
John Yang is <a href="http://www.advocate.com/news/2008/05/07/insider-out">one of only a few openly gay newscaster-journalists</a>. The 54-year-old first-generation Chinese American contributes to all NBC News properties, including <em>NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams</em> and <em>Today</em>. Prior to joining NBC, <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22114403/ns/nbcnightlynews-about_us/t/john-yang/#.UIBrPkJAukA">Yang was with ABC and <em>The Washington Post</em></a>.
Quenton Allan Brocka
Filipino-American <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0110654/">Quenton Allan Brocka</a> is an award-winning director. His LGBT-focused work, including the popular <em>Eating Out</em> series and <em>Rick & Steve, The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World</em>, have won Brocka numerous honors from LGBT film festivals. The openly gay Brocka is the nephew of <a href="http://www.ldsfilm.com/directors/Brocka.html">Lino Brocka, a famous Filipino director</a> who often incorporated LGBT themes in his movies.
<em>So You Think You Can Dance</em> alum and Lady Gaga dancer Mark Kanemura has Japanese blood (hence the last name) and <a href="http://www.out.com/entertainment/music/2011/06/07/catching-mark-kanemura?page=0,2">spoke with <em>Out</em> magazine in 2011</a> about his LGBT community ties.
<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/17/fashion/17upclose.html">Joe Zee</a>, a self-proclaimed pop culture junkie, was born in Hong Kong and <a href="http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/joe-zee/bio/294180">grew up in Toronto</a>. Zee has made a name for himself in the fashion industry as <em>Elle</em> magazine's creative director.
Pamela Ki Mai Chen
In August <a href="http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/08/02/obama-nominates-chinese-american-lesbian-to-federal-bench/">President Obama nominated openly lesbian Chinese-American Pamela Ki Mai Chen</a> to serve on a New York district court. This marks the fifth nomination by the Obama administration of an openly LGBT person to the federal bench. This also makes Chen the second Chinese-American female judge in U.S. history.
A native San Franciscan, <a href="http://www.alexanderwang.com/studio/biography/">Alexander Wang</a> launched his fashion career when he moved to New York City to study at the famed Parsons The New School for Design. Wang, who's Taiwanese, opened up his first flagship store in SoHo in 2011. In 2010 Wang won the Council of Fashion Designers of America's <a href="http://mochimag.com/blog/2010/06/alexander-wang-jason-wu-and-richard-chai-win-the-cfda-swarovski-awards/">Swarovski Award</a>.
Openly lesbian model-actress <a href="http://www.fashionmodeldirectory.com/models/Jenny_Shimizu">Jenny Shimizu</a> has graced the covers of <em>Vogue</em> (Australia and Singapore editions) and has also had roles both on the small and big screens. <a href="http://www.jennyshimizuonline.com">Shimizu</a>, who is of Japanese descent, was named to <em>A</em> magazine's "100 Most Influential Asian Americans of the Decade 1989-1999" and received the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival 2006 Lesbian Icon Award. The 45-year-old is also well-known for her relationship with Angelina Jolie.
Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla
<a href="http://www.ghalibdhalla.com/biography.html">Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla</a>, born in Kenya and of Indian descent, is an acclaimed author and filmmaker, bringing LGBT storylines to the forefront of South Asian culture in books like <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-luce/the-two-krishnas-a-novel-_b_1834988.html"><em>Ode to Lata</em> (turned into a movie) and <em>The Two Krishnas</em></a>. The activist co-founded the South Asian program for the <a href="http://www.apaitonline.org">Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team</a> and is one of the founding members of <a href="http://www.satrang.org">SATRANG</a>, a support group for LGBT South Asians in Los Angeles.
Manvendra Singh Gohil
Since <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jenni-chang-and-lisa-dazols/prince-manvendra-gay_b_1257603.html">Manvendra Singh Gohil</a> appeared on <em>Oprah</em> in 2007, the openly gay Indian prince has become an LGBT-rights activist, founding <a href="http://www.lakshyatrust.com">Lakshya Trust</a>, an organization that supports Indian sexual minorities, and frequently speaking at public events.
Poet-performer <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/staceyann-chin/">Staceyann Chin</a> (who's written many blogs on The Huffington Post) was born in Jamaica and is half-Chinese. Chin has received many accolades. Some of her awards include the Human Rights Campaign's 2007 Power of the Voice Award, the 2008 Honors from the Lesbian AIDS Project and the 2009 New York State Senate Award.
Taiwanese-born designer <a href="http://www.fashionmodeldirectory.com/designers/jasonwu/">Jason Wu</a> further made a name for himself when he designed First Lady <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/fashion/25WU.html?_r=1">Michelle Obama's inaugural gown</a>. Wu, 30, started his career designing clothes for dolls. Wu produced his first collection in 2006 and won the Fashion Group International's Rising Star award in 2008. He was also nominated for the Vogue Fashion Fund award that same year and earned the Council of Fashion Designers of America's <a href="http://mochimag.com/blog/2010/06/alexander-wang-jason-wu-and-richard-chai-win-the-cfda-swarovski-awards/">Swarovski Award in 2010</a>.
Japanese-American actor <a href="http://www.sabshimono.com/html/bio.htm">Sab Shimono</a> has had numerous roles. Some of those include Broadway shows <em>Mame</em> and <em>Pacific Overtures</em>, small-screen appearances on <em>Friends</em> and <em>Seinfeld</em> and movies like <em>Gung Ho</em> and <em>The Sensei</em>. Shimono <a href="http://apiequalityla.org/blog/2011/03/31/sab-steve/">married his husband</a>, Steve Alden Nelson, in a civil union ceremony in 2008 in San Diego.
Avant-garde violinist and performance artist <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/01/hahn-bin-interview_n_1248327.html">Hahn-Bin</a>, 25, seeks to bring mainstream attention to classical music. The young classical prodigy studied under famed violinist Itzhak Perlman and has performed at the Grammy Awards and at Carnegie Hall. Although he hasn't claimed any labels, Hahn-Bin <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/11/arts/music/young-concert-artists-with-hahn-bin-at-alice-tully-hall.html">donned the rainbow flag</a> as a cape in a May performance just shortly after Obama's same-sex marriage announcement. <em>Out</em> magazine <a href="http://www.out.com/out-exclusives/out100/2011/12/11/17th-annual-out100#slide-66">named the artist to its 17th annual "Out 100" list</a>.
Openly bisexual singer-songwriter <a href="http://www.asianamerican.net/bios/Hsu-Li-Magdalen.html">Magdalen Hsu-Li</a> initially started her career as a painter. Now she's one of the first Asian Americans (she's Chinese) to burst onto the alternative college music scene. Hsu-Li released five albums with Chickpop Records.
<a href="http://www.richardchailove.com/profile">Richard Chai</a> is a Korean-American designer based in New York City who was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2007 and won the council's <a href="http://mochimag.com/blog/2010/06/alexander-wang-jason-wu-and-richard-chai-win-the-cfda-swarovski-awards/">Swarovski Menswear Designer of the Year in 2010</a>. Chai, who's openly gay, also designs womenswear and studied under Donna Karan and Marc Jacobs.
Thai-American fashion designer <a href="http://www.thakoon.com/world-of-thakoon">Thakoon Panichgul</a> didn't start his career making clothes. He earned a business degree from Boston University and worked as a writer-editor at <em>Harper’s Bazaar</em> for four years before launching his designing career. The designer, who studied at Parsons School of Design, debuted his first ready-to-wear collection in 2004 and was one of three recipients of the Council of Fashion Designers of America Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund.
Nong Ariyaphon Southiphong
Nong Ariyaphon Southiphong was known as designer Andy South on season eight of <em>Project Runway</em>. Southiphong, of Laotian ancestry, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/21/nong-ariyaphon-southiphon-project-runway-transgender-transition-_n_1904203.html">came out as a transgender woman in September</a>. The young fashion designer said, "I am blessed to be so accepted and welcomed just the way I am. May that love flow through me and onto many others. Live in love for the world needs it."
Irshad Manji is an openly lesbian human rights activist and New York University's director of the <a href="http://wagner.nyu.edu/leadership/our_work/moral_courage.php">Moral Courage Project</a>. <a href="http://wagner.nyu.edu/manji">Professor Manji</a> is a reformist Muslim, writing books (<em>The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith</em> and <em>Allah, Liberty & Love</em>) about her religion and its role in today's society. The scholar was born in Uganda and is of <a href="https://www.irshadmanji.com/about-irshad">Indian and Egyptian descent</a>.
Better known by his drag name, <a href="http://www.manilaluzon.com/about.html">Manila Luzon</a>, Karl Westerberg came in second place to Sutan Amrull (Raja) in season three of <em>RuPaul's Drag Race</em>. Westerberg, whose drag name reflects his Filipino heritage, said in an <a href="http://www.mywebbsite.ca/2012/10/03/manila-luzon-marriage/">October interview for a Canadian blog site</a>, "Hopefully what I offer to the movement is by being a positive figure of the gay community."
Chinese-American designer <a href="http://www.vernyip.com/index.html">Vern Yip</a> can be seen on many shows including HGTV's <em>Design Star</em>, <em>Bang for Your Buck</em> and TLC's <em>Trading Spaces</em>. Yip has two children, Gavin Joshua Mannox and Vera Lillian Beatrix, with his partner Craig Koch.
The late <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/25/ifti-nasim-dead-pioneerin_n_908423.html">Ifti Nasim</a> was an openly gay Muslim Pakistani poet, human rights activist and Chicago radio host. Nasim, who was 64 when he passed away in July 2011, founded SANGAT/Chicago, a South Asian LGBT organization, and also wrote <em>Narman</em>, the first believed book in Urdu that centered on gay themes.
<a href="http://www.hrc.org/staff/profile/cuc-vu">Cuc Vu</a>, an immigrant from Vietnam, is the chief diversity officer of the Human Rights Campaign. Her vision is to ensure HRC's commitment to diversity and inclusion at all levels of the LGBT-rights organization. Vu married her wife, Gwen Migita, in Washington, D.C., in 2010.
Airline Inthyrath, the beloved drag queen <a href="http://www.jujubeeonline.com/bio.php">Jujubee</a>, finished as second runner-up in season two of <em>RuPaul's Drag Race</em>, where he spoke about being gay and Asian.
Christopher Cabaldon (D-Calif.)
Mayor of West Sacramento <a href="http://www.cabaldon.org">Christopher Cabaldon</a> was the first mayor <a href="http://www.cityofwestsacramento.org/city/council/mayor_cabaldon.asp">directly elected</a> by voters in 2004 and then reelected in 2006, 2008 and 2010. Cabaldon, who's Filipino-American, <a href="http://archive.capradio.org/articles/2006/04/05/cabaldon-says-response-to-coming-out-mostly-positive">publicly came out</a> to his constituents in his annual State of the City address in 2006. <a href="http://www.in.com/christopher-cabaldon/biography-56593.html">Logo featured Cabaldon's story</a> in an episode of <em>Coming Out Stories</em>.
Mark Takano (D-Calif.)
<a href="http://www.victoryfund.org/endorsed_candidates/profile/candidate:563">Mark Takano</a> would be the first openly gay person of color to serve in Congress if he wins this fall election. Japanese-American Takano was born and raised in Riverside, Calif. and is <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Record-number-of-gays-seeking-seats-in-Congress-3912917.php">one of eight openly LGBT candidates</a> running for the House of Representatives (the most ever). He's also one of 23 Asians running for office.
Filmmaker-writer Parvez Sharma directed and produced the award-winning and thought-provoking documentary <a href="http://www.glaad.org/2009/03/30/a-jihad-for-love-wins-at-glaad-media-awards"><em>A Jihad for Love</em>, which won the GLAAD media award</a> for best documentary in 2009. The film explores the lives of LGBT people in the Middle East. Sharma is an openly gay Indian Muslim who <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/parvez-sharma">frequently blogs on The Huffington Post</a>.
Los Angeles-based photojournalist <a href="http://www.jeffsheng.com/index.php#p=-1&a=0&at=0">Jeff Sheng</a> is responsible for the powerful images of closeted military personnel in his "don't ask, don't tell" photo series, which was featured in major news outlets including <em>The New York Times</em> and CNN. Another project that got Sheng attention was his "Fearless" series of openly LGBT student athletes. The Chinese-American activist was named to <em>The Advocate's</em> "Forty Under 40" in 2011.
<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2000/05/28/us/kiyoshi-kuromiya-57-fighter-for-the-rights-of-aids-patients.html">Kiyoshi Kuromiya</a> was an AIDS activist who passed away from the disease in 2000 at the age of 57. Kuromiya, who was Japanese, was born in a Wyoming Japanese internment camp and eventually made his way to Philadelphia, where he went to school, started his gay rights activism and provided services like internet access to AIDS patients.
Chinese-American <a href="http://www.diversity.umich.edu/about/faces_toy.php">Jim Toy</a> is an LGBT activist and pioneer in Michigan. Some of Toy's achievements include being a founding member of the Detroit Gay Liberation Movement and establishing the University of Michigan's Lesbian-Gay Male Programs Office (the first of its kind to address sexual orientation issues in a higher institution of learning).
<a href="http://urvashivaid.net/wp/?page_id=2">Urvashi Vaid</a> is an author and attorney who's committed her career to civil and LGBT rights. The Indian-American activist has served in various capacities with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, including as its former executive director.
<a href="http://www.evanlow.com/meetevan.php">Evan Low</a> made history in 2006 as the first Asian American (he's Chinese), elected to the city council in Campbell, Calif., as well as its first openly gay person and the youngest person (he's 23). Low later was elected as mayor of the city, making him the youngest Asian-American mayor in the U.S.
Sunil Babu Pant
In 2008 <a href="http://www.bds.org.np/sunil_pant.html">Sunil Babu Pant</a> became <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/gay-nepal-politician-facebook-petition-_n_1373112.html">Nepal's first openly gay parliament member</a>. Pant founded the <a href="http://www.bds.org.np/aboutus.html">Blue Diamond Society</a>, a group that advocates for Nepalese LGBT citizens.
<a href="http://www.paulinepark.com/about/">Pauline Park</a> was born in and adopted from Korea and has become a pioneer for transgender rights. Park came out as a transgender woman after moving to New York City and co-founded and chairs the <a href="http://nyagra.com">New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy</a>. The advocate also founded the <a href="http://www.queenspridehouse.org/wordpress/">Queens Pride House</a> and Iban/Queer Koreans of New York group. In 2005 <a href="http://iamkoreanamerican.com/2010/01/07/pauline-park/">Park was the first openly transgender grand marshal</a> for New York City's Pride parade.
Sixty-four-year-old singer-songwriter <a href="http://www.junemillington.com/solo.html">June Millington</a> was born in the Philippines and <a href="http://www.dykediva.com/music/review_sue_millington.php">emigrated to California when she was 13</a>. Along with her sister, Jean, and two other bandmates, Millington was a part of <a href="http://fannyrocks.com">Fanny</a>, the first all-female rock band to be signed by a major label (Warner Brothers). The lesbian musician and her group were dubbed the "Godmothers of Chick Rock."
<a href="http://jimmywin.com/about-jimmy/">Jimmy Nguyen</a> was born in Vietnam and has become a vocal LGBT rights activist, frequently writing blog posts for <em>The Advocate</em>, where he talks about the intersection of the gay and Asian communities. Nguyen, a lawyer, was <a href="http://www.advocate.com/print-issue/cover-stories/2010/04/07/forty-under-40?page=0,2">named to <em>The Advocate's</em> "Forty Under 40" list in 2010</a>.
When <a href="http://www.faisalalam.com">Faisal Alam</a> was 19, he founded Al-Fatiha, an LGBTIQ group for Muslims and their allies. Faisal is Pakistani-American and tours the nation talking about his faith and sexuality. He's received numerous recognitions, including being named to the Equality Forum's "40 Heroes."
Patrick S. Cheng
<a href="http://www.patrickcheng.net">Patrick S. Cheng</a> is an openly gay Chinese ordained minister with Metropolitan Community Churches, an LGBT-affirming Christian church. Cheng also started <a href="http://www.queerasianspirit.org">Queer Asian Spirit</a>, a faith- and religious-based support group for LGBT Asians. Cheng is the author of <em>Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology</em> and <em>From Sin to Amazing Grace: Discovering the Queer Christ</em>. He also frequently <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-patrick-s-cheng-phd/">blogs on The Huffington Post</a>.
Queer Filipina <a href="http://www.speakoutnow.org/userdata_display.php?modin=50&uid=169">Margarita Alcantara</a> is an advocate for women's and LGBT rights. In 1995 she <a href="http://www.alcantaraacupuncture.com/about-margarita/">started her own self-published magazine</a>, <a href="http://bamboogirlzine.blogspot.com"><em>Bamboo Girl Zine</em></a>, where she wrote about race, sex, gender and other issues. Alcantara ended the publication to focus on her acupuncture business based in New York City.