I am sitting a church basement in Hollywood, California. This is a meeting of sober gay drug addicts and alcoholics. I look across the fluorescently lit room at all the faces in the room. I am always in awe at the levels of diversity in the gay recovery community in Hollywood. I see a generous mixture of Latino faces, transgendered faces, “white” and African-American people. I notice, however, that there aren’t many Asian-American faces. In fact, in a room of 250 gay and sober drug addicts and alcoholics, I only see two.
Two. Out of 250.
I am well aware that drug addiction and alcoholism does not discriminate by gender, sexuality or class. And I didn’t think it discriminated among race or ethnicity either but I am still troubled by the fact that there does not seem to be any Asian-American representation in the sober gay community.
Clearly there must be gay Asian-American drug addicts and alcoholics… right? Or is it possible that sociologist were correct in their assumption of the “model minority?” Are Asian-Americans, and further, gay Asian-Americans, as susceptible to drug addiction as their racial counterparts? If they are as susceptible, are they able to recover from this disease as well?
It is the purpose of these series of blog entries to look at Gay Asian-American substance abuse.
I have titled my blog “Orientating Addiction” on purpose: applying two different connotations of the word “orient.” Firstly, as it applies to sexual orientation. Secondly, as a play on the word “oriental,” a word that has been used in the past to describe (hegemonically and stereotypically) people of Asian descent.
These series of blog entries are not meant to be in any way formally scientific or academic, even though I am a student at UCSB and this final blog project is for my Asian American Literature class. I am merely attempting to apply concepts of ethnicity, race and transnationalism to a subject that is very important to me: gay drug addiction and recovery.
Firstly I will look at common misconceptions of gay drug use and the “party” lifestyle. In my second blog entry I will look at race and ethnicity and its application to substance abuse. I will attempt in my third blog entry to draw these insights specifically to gay Asian American men and substance abuse. Lastly I will highlight current treatment options and solutions to substance abuse as it applies to gay Asian-American men.
Throughout my blog entries I will highlight two gay men, Brian and Steven, both of Asian-American descent and who have battled with drug addiction in the past and have achieved sobriety. My goal of highlighting these two men is to put a “real world” application to some of the theories expressed in these blogs, to show that sober gay Asian-American men exist and can recover from this deadly disease.