Largest Assessment of Queer Southeast Asian Americans Conducted


Contact: Kevin Lam

Providence, Rhode Island, July 20th, 2012—

The Queer Southeast Asian (QSEA) Network has just completed the largest study ever conducted on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Southeast Asian Americans. The results of this study will be released in the upcoming report: A Census of Our Own: The State of QSEA America, which will be launched at the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) Conference in Washington, DC on Friday, July 20, 2012.

The QSEA Network is a coalition of three community-based organizations serving and/or led by queer Southeast Asian Americans from around the country. Together with partners organizations and through grassroots mobilization, they conducted an assessment of 364 LGBTQ Southeast Asian Americans (including those of Thai, Lao, Hmong, Vietnamese and Cambodian descent) from across 18 different states and ranging in age from 11 to 50.

The report reveals that for LGBTQ Southeast Asian Americans, their experiences are markedly different from the narratives often heard in the mainstream White LGBTQ community and even differ from experiences of other Asian Pacific Islander LGBTQ communities. The historical connection Southeast Asian Americans have to the Vietnam War and the majority having come from a refugee background has greatly impacted their experiences growing up queer in the United States.

For instance, 85% of the sample reporting having come out to at least one family member and the average age of coming out in the sample was 17. Nonetheless, experiences of coming out and growing up LBGTQ were compounded by multiple experiences of discrimination. Of the sample, 67% had experienced racism, 58% had experienced homophobia, and 34% had experienced gender discrimination. In addition, 22% reported experiencing racism in LGBTQ spaces and 44% felt uncomfortable in LGBTQ spaces due to their ethnicity. Another 74% reported their families had received public assistance in the past.

A Census of Our Own is the first report to explore the intersection of experiences facing LGBTQ Southeast Asians within a large sample and is the first study to be designed, driven, and compiled by the community itself. The data and personal stories shared within the report shed light on the dire need for culturally appropriate services targeting this community and funding to support such services.

For more information on the conference please visit: or e-mail us at