Vanilla Fever, Coliver, and the Revolutionary Nature of Brown LGBTQ Love
One person asked the question during the discussion that was centering on the unity theme at that moment why Black transwomen and Black transmen haven't been hooking up in relationships with each other.As many of you know, I am fan of ABC's How to Get Away with Murder. I started watching it for African-American actresses Viola Davis and Michaela Pratt, and I was overjoyed when Asian-American actors Conrad Ricamora and Arjun Gupta joined the cast as recurring stars.
It was a valid question, seeing that I know of Black trans women hooked up with long-term relationships with cis men and Black trans men doing the reverse with cis women.
Why haven't we seen more often the no-brainer situation of transmasculine and transfeminine people not only hooking up in long term relationships, but marrying each other? What is preventing us from doing that?
...As Precious Davis said in a comment on her Facebook page that accompanied the initial photo, 'Black trans men and Black trans women loving each other is revolutionary'.
It damned sure is. And we need to do a better job of role modeling the mutual respect and friendships which will allow that love to blossom and grow. (Source)
Conrad Ricamora portrays Oliver, the on-again-off-again love interest of Connor Walsh (a white guy), thus the nickname "Coliver" from fans of the ship. At first, I was happy because one 1) good-looking Asian nerd whom the audience fell in love with immediately, 2) a very skilled Asian-American actor who proved to be more than just a nice face, and 3) whenever Oliver got pissed at Connor, he didn't just curl up and cry; he showed it. I'm talking hanging up on Connor, slamming the door in his face - all that good soap opera ish.
But their relationship began with Connor manipulating Oliver for information, and using Oliver's insecurities against him (i.e., checking out another guy when Oliver initially refused to divulge info, and after Oliver revealed he didn't normally get to speak to hot guys in bars). Recent episodes showed those insecurities resurfacing again, with Oliver talking about how guys like Connor can have whomever they want and don't normally go for guys like Oliver. Oliver also mentions what people must think when they see them together, and reveals he's basically fallen in love with Connor overnight and out of the blue, while Connor couldn't even bother to stay faithful. And when Oliver is ready to kick Connor out once and for all, Connor lies and says he has a drug problem, and occasionally uses that lie to extort sympathy.
I was a huge fan of Coliver...until I started reading (you might want to settle in; it'll be a while).
As a child growing up in Singapore, Gilbert Cheah always dreamed of moving to the United States — so dazzled was he by the glamorous western lifestyles and people he saw on TV, in movies and magazines. Living in a former British colony with hardly any media of its own in the 1970s, Singaporeans like Cheah and his friends grew up on a steady diet of TV shows from the west and images of Caucasian models in magazines.Reading these thoughts and recollections reminded me of when we were talking on the Narrative about how Yellow Fever is a popular term and admittedly a serious problem, while White/Vanilla Fever is nothing short of an epidemic, yet the term is barely ever used. We also talked about how when white people want to be with each other, it's the natural order of things, both in media and in real life. However, when POC choose to be with each other, there's suddenly an "issue." There are obstacles, complications, and plenty of avoidance when discussing as to why that is - both in media and in real life.
“So we had a very white ideal of what beauty is, what a guy should look like,” Cheah said. “I had always envisioned that I would move to the U.S., go to college, get a job, and have a white boyfriend.
“When I went to Boston, you could say I was a confirmed ‘potato queen’. I was only attracted to white guys. And I wouldn’t date an Asian guy because I didn’t find other Asian men attractive just as I didn’t see myself as attractive—because I wasn’t white.”
But while attending college in Boston, Cheah quickly found a part of his dream wasn’t so easily attainable. He realized that although he was attracted to white guys, the reverse wasn’t true.
“When I started going out in Boston to the clubs, I felt really invisible because no one was paying attention to me, even after being introduced to them,” he said. “I soon realized that just as I had this overwhelming preference for white guys, most of them had an aversion to dating Asian men. They just saw you as someone they were not interested in romantically, even if they were interested in being friends.’
...“It was soon evident to me that growing up in a society where all the media images were white had something to do with it. All the male models in magazines, the stars on TV and in the movies—they were all white. As a young person growing up in such an environment, your tastes and preferences become colonialized and you think the only standard of beauty is white.
“And that was the same reason why most of the white guys in the US weren’t attracted to Asians, because they too have shared the same media and have the same singular standard of beauty, which is mainly white.” (Source)
Many gay Asians have a problematic addiction to potatoes, aka white guys. I was there myself. For years, I always pictured the “ideal guy” for me to be a dashingly handsome white guy with the perfect features – blue eyes, sandy hair, and a bit taller than me.
Lucky for me, I woke up in time to smell the coffee. Many of my fellow gay Asians aren’t so fortunate. They stick to their proverbial guns and hang to the pipe dream of landing a white male model, even when they’re years past their dating prime.
If you’re a potato queen, I have news for you. You need to get over your addiction to white guys ASAP. Here’s why:
1. You need white guys more than they need you
For every white guy who’s open to dating an Asian, there are no fewer than 3 Asians fighting for his attention.
2. You’ll eventually get dumped for a younger, cuter Asian
White people invented the concept of leasing a car and trading it in when it’s old, and they’ve carried that concept over to their dating lives too.
3. Rice queens don’t care about you as an individual
...A rice queen is a special variety of white guy that primarily (or exclusively) dates Asians. You may think that you’ve hit pay dirt when you land a rice queen, but you should beware – they only like you because you’re Asian.
White guys become rice queens because they like smooth skin, smaller bodies and what they perceive as more submissive personalities of Asian guys. When a rice queen sees you, he notices only those features he’s attracted to, not necessarily your other qualities.
4. Potatoes age faster
White guys age faster than us Asians, at least on the surface. Caucasian skin tends to be thinner and looser, and more susceptible to wrinkling at an earlier age. White men also gain a considerable amount of weight sometime after their early 20s, and that weight gain continues steadily until middle age, at which time it’s pretty rare to find a white guy who doesn’t have a visible beer gut.
5. You will end up old and lonely
For all the reasons above, you’re unlikely to land the white guy of your dreams. And even if you luck out, it may be short lived.
A disproportionate number of my old, lonely gay friends are Asians and the one thing they share in common is a strong preference to date exclusively white guys. Year after year as they age they become even less attractive to the white guys who, as we’ve seen, have plenty of younger, cuter Asians to choose from. (Source)
“People assume all the time that I’m a crazy bottom,” Jason, a 28-year old Asian American in Los Angeles, says. “What bothers me the most is that I find myself attracted only to white guys, but I never asked myself why until earlier this year. When I go into a gay bar, it’s as if all the other Asian men view me as competition. We’re all looking for white men who might have an attraction towards Asians. It’s sad there is a biased view about gay Asian males that even I’m starting to believe –we’re always going to be with on old white guy, or, we’re somehow conceived as less masculine, therefore we’re going to always be a bottom. It’s not true.”
...According to an individual study from the blog AngryHomosexual.com, a blogger loaded Grindr on two different phones – one posing as a white man, the other an Asian man, both equivalent in body type. Their profiles were exactly the same in despite of their racial difference. In the end, the “white guy” got twice as many messages than the “Asian guy.” Some messages asked for a face pic then after seeing that he was Asian, they responded with “Sorry. Not my type.” When he’d message the same people who rejected the Asian guy, this time as the white one, he was bombarded with cockshots and explicit details about what they were into.
Hookup apps have made us realize how truly racist we are when it comes to dating. I never knew how bad it was until I started advertising myself on such apps. Reading profiles that say “Sorry. I don’t do Asians” or “Not into thugs” or “No fatties or fems” make a person second-question their place in society, but more so, their chances at finding love. (Source)
I'm a 25 year old gay Asian male, and I have noted innumerable instances of racism and discriminatory attitudes frequently directed at non-white gay men by gay white men.
To clarify, I'm not talking about sexual partners or hookups. I'm referring to the method by which many gay men select, or exclude friends or platonic relationships. Sadly, I've noted that many gay white men in Austin will exclude non-white from their social circles and the reason for such exclusion is because the individual is not white.
Perhaps this goes more with the superficiality of gays in general in that gay men do not like to associate with people they deem unattractive, and because minorities are almost always viewed as less desirable in the gay community, they are shunned. (This is an entirely different ugly subject that I could get into, but I won't).
When I hang out with straight people, my ethnicity rarely acts as a barrier in interactions. When one friend introduces me to another in a conversation, I'm not dismissed because of my ethnicity. It seems that overall, "straight society" (if one could even call it that) is a lot more color-blind than "gay society."
Hanging out with gays, though, my ethnic background has become a huge liability. First, at gay bars, bartenders frequently ignore minorities that have been waiting and go straight to the white guy that cut in line.
I once saw this happen to a black guy, who calmly asked why he was ignored, while several white guys were served drinks before him, even though he had been standing there longer. I was shocked when he was grabbed from behind and forcefully removed from the premises. (Source)
Whenever I come across a hot Asian couple -- as in a couple that consists of two attractive people of full Asian descent -- it's akin to witnessing a solar eclipse. It doesn't happen much, at least not in my L.A. bubble, but it's always a pleasant surprise.
...I live in Westwood, right next to UCLA (which stands for "U C Lotsa Asians"). Walking to the gym every day, I notice that the campus seems to be coupling grounds for one particular type of interracial pair: the white person and the "hot Asian." This is by far the most common interracial couple that I see in California.
Now, is this wrong? Of course it isn't. Love between consenting adults is always beautiful, and it should be celebrated in all its forms. No one should ever feel ashamed for loving someone, regardless of gender or color. Besides, "hapa" (meaning "half Asian, half white") people tend to be ridiculously attractive, so it's (probably) not an offense against nature.
...But this is still a trend worth overanalyzing. So let's overanalyze.
Gay culture, of course, has a lot of snarky fun with this phenomenon. A "rice queen" is a white gay man who has a strong proclivity for gay men of Asian descent. A "potato queen" is a gay Asian man who returns this exclusive attraction to his white admirers. But my favorite label has to be "sticky rice," a hilarious title for a gay Asian man who only dates other Asian men. Sticky rice is the forbidden carb of rice queens. (Source)
So once it all started coming together for me (in the long-winded, convoluted way that things do), I was immediately reminded of that excellent post from Trangriot, whose excerpt I posted in the opening. Seeing healthy brown* hetero love is profound and eye-opening, heartwarming and inspiring. Seeing healthy brown LGBTQ love, however, is revolutionary on a whole other level.
Male activists and politicians often talk
#Tindia #FTW #Empire
*I don't have time to dice brown people into subgroups. We're brown, damn it.