Jason Tseng

Queering the Lunar New Year

Filed By Jason Tseng | February 14, 2010 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media

While many people around the world are celebrating Valentine's Day with chocolates, romantic dinners, and the such, hundreds of thousands of Asian folk are celebrating the Lunar New Year. tigerchinese.gifThat's right, February 14th is not only a day to buy a cornucopia of chocolates, greeting cards, and lingerie in various shades of pink; it is also Lunar New Year.

While its clear that Valentine's day needs plenty of queering, a coalition of gay, lesbian, bi, and trans Asian American groups are breaking ground in injecting queerness into the Lunar New Year by organizing the first queer participation in the annual Lunar New Year Parade in New York City. This will mark the first time that gay, lesbian, bi, and transfolk will have open participation and presence in the annual parade, scheduled for Sunday, February 21st, 2010.

A group of Queer Asian organizations have sponsored this event and released the following:

We are excited to announce our participation in representing API queer families at this year's parade, which is endorsed by John Liu, our newly elected NYC comptroller, and Christine Quinn, Speaker of City Counsel
among others.

On Jan. 30th, 2010, a press conference was held in Chinatown to announce the groundbreaking participation of LGBTQ API contingent in 2010 Lunar New Year Parade. Rev. Patrick Cheng, a minister at Metropolitan Community Church, was present and spoke about the support he received from is family as a queer Asian. Also in attendance was Jamie Tam, a Chinese American Transgendered youth who shared his experience of rejection from his own family for not fitting in with traditional Asian culture.

The Lunar New Year parade will not only raise our visibility within the NYC Asian communities but also within our own families, especially during such an important time of the year where families come together to support one another. We'll be there to be part of the Asian community and also to show that though we suffer hardships there are still loving families.

This event will be co-sponsored by the following organizations;

Chinatown Youth Initiatives
Asian Women Giving Circle
Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), New York Chapter
New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy
Project Reach
Nodutdol for Korean American Development
Queer Asian Spirit: LGBTQ Asians of Faith
Joan Chen: Actor
Helen Zia: Author, Human Rights Activist
NQAPIA, National Queer API Alliance

If you're interested in participating in the event, check out the various websites of the sponsor organizations.

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Amazing. My congratulations to all who made this happen.

And we *still* cannot get a contingent in the St. Patrick's Day parade. That speaks volumes.

True. However there actually is more to THAT particular story than just LGBT people. AOH won't let a lot of people in, (think "old-line" IRA vs modern Sinn Fein).

And LGBT people run the LARGE annual "Saint Pat's For All" Parade in the very Irish Immigrant neighborhoods of Queens NYC. See here:


Oh wow great to know, will get the word out. Also FYI LGBT people marched in the Lunar New Year's Parade in Cali too. See here from the Gay Vietnamese Alliance:


Wishing you all ????

Good for NYC, but gays have appeared in San Francisco's Chinese New Year's Parade for years, at least since 1994:

"Elisa Lee
Gay and Lesbian Contingents To March In Chinatown New Year Parade.

SAN FRANCISCO -- When the 1994 Chinatown New Year Parade weaves itself through Chinatown on Feb. 26, a lavender Godzilla will bob amongst the lions and dragons.

As mascot of the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance, it will be the first time gay, lesbian and bisexual Asian Pacific Islanders have ever been recognized in the annual parade and festival which has been going on since 1958."

And, PLEASE, don't call it "Cali"...unless you also would say "Yorki," "Texi," "Missi," etc.

:- )

It must be wonderful to have the acceptance of your family - priceless, I would say. Happy New Year!

We were fairly successful in avoiding Valentine's Day madness. We actually looked for a way to celebrate the Lunar New Year and were moderately successful.

St Patrick's Day is coming. I am questioning whether I want to go to the Ceili this year or not. It isn't that I am not welcome. It's just that it's all about the dancing and. . .well, it's complicated . . .

Here's the official website of the New York group - Lunar New Year for All 2010 - that is planning the lgbt contingent for the Manhattan Chinatown Parade on Sunday. There are videos from the press conference too :)


why isn't APICHA in this list of participants?!!

APICHA is also a co-sponsor. You can see it on the official website.

St. Pat's for All is also bringing a contingent to march in Chinatown with "Lunar New Year for ALL" !

(and the Asian group will be marching in future St. Pat's for All in Queens.)

when any group is excluded from their community, we can and will make space for each other in other communities! :) solidarity!

Hi Kevin,

APICHA is definitely one of our most avid supporters. You will see APICHA on our website and on our printed materials. The reason APICHA wasn't mentioned in the above list of sponsors is probably because we didn't get the official sponsorship of APICHA until after our media press kits were sent out.

Thank you for APICHA's support and I hope you will be able to march with us on Sunday, Feb 21. Check out our website to participate in the parade:

Karen Lee

When I was growing up in FLUSHing "Queens," there was one Chinese family and one Japanese family in the neighborhood. And the only ones wearing
"drag" in Chinatown were the "drag"on dancers.