A Day in the Queer Life of Asian Pacific America


The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, AARP, and Kundiman are launching the digital exhibition A Day in the Queer Life of Asian Pacific America on March 25, 2019, with monthly updates of new material through August 2019.

The last 40 years have witnessed huge strides in visibility for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer communities, but with little attention expressly to Asian American and Pacific Islander experience. Featuring solicited and crowd-sourced media –– short film, photography, boomerangs, video poems, and a longform essay –– this exhibition explores queer life in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities throughout the country, including lesser-known geographic pockets, with a focus on the everyday and lesser-known dimensions of experience.

Featured sections of the exhibition:

  • Queer Elders: a series of 4 video shorts of queer elders in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and sites in the south and midwest curated by archivist, photographer, and filmmaker Mia Nakano;

  • Queer Check-ins: a series of 12 video poem “check ins” by queer diasporic poets throughout the U.S. and beyond, curated by poet Franny Choi;

  • Queer Youth: crowd-sourced photography and short video by queer youth;

  • Queer Motion: crowd-sourced boomerangs exploring queer survival, heartbreak, and joy set to motion; and

  • Queer Time: a longform essay on queer experience of time by poet Rajiv Mohabir.

A Day in the Queer Life of Asian Pacific America uses the designation "queer" to understand sexual and gender identity as often fluid and complex, while recognizing the term's histories of derogatory usage and lasting pain for some LGBTQ folx.


The project kicks off with the beginning of a series of "Queer Check Ins," video poems by queer diasporic poets that combine the sound of their poems with the visions of their everyday. The series is curated by Franny Choi, and includes videos released in March by Soham Patel, Lehua Taitano, and Paul Tran; videos to released in April by Wo Chan, Joseph O. Legaspi, and Terisa Siagatonu; videos released in May by Kazim Ali, Ryka Aoki, and Hieu Minh Nguyen; and videos released in June by Lauren Bullock, Shailja Patel, and Kitty Tsui.

Check out Franny's video below, and check the whole project out here!

About the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

Established in 1997, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center is a national resource for discovering the consequence and complexity of the Asian Pacific American experience through collaboration, exhibitions, programs, and digital experiences. Follow the Center on Twitter: @SmithsonianAPA.

About AARP

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to helping people ages 50 and older to improve their quality of life as they age. With over 38 million members and growing, we lead positive social change through our extensive product offerings and services.

About Lambda Literary

Lambda Literary nurtures and advocates for LGBTQ writers, elevating the impact of their words to create community, preserve our legacies, and affirm the value of our stories and our lives.