toshi pau

Sexual Asiancies: Queer Asian Males and Sexual Labor

What is sexual subjectivity and sexual agency to an asexualized entity? Historically asexualized, emasculated, and feminized, Asian men in America have paradoxically inhabited opposite ends on the spectrum of desirability. On one hand, as Steve Harvey and others would have it, Asian men are simply unattractive, undesirable, and ultimately unknowable (“I don’t eat what I can’t pronounce”). On the other, in the eyes of so-called Rice Queens, Asian men are submissive, feminine, and exotic delights. In both cases, the agency to self-identify through sexual expression is foreclosed. This project looks to Asian men who perform in the industry of pornography, drag, and nightclub service to locate modes of sexual self-expression that serve to mediate and negotiate sexual agency and subjectivity. Furthermore, while this project looks specifically at Asian men, it also seeks to actively transcend binary notions masculine/feminine to encourage feminist (not feminizing) progress without engaging in a project of remasculinization. Over the next year, I plan to conduct observations and interviews with these workers in various sites including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago.