“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” by Ocean Vuong (he/him) unearths the life and history of a young gay Vietnamese-American man, Little Dog. Though the novel moves between his grandmother’s and mother’s lives in Vietnam to his life in the U.S., it isn’t only an “immigrant story” or a “gay story.” Rather, it encompasses his queerness, race, class, family, and humanity.
On May 5, 2023, UCLA screened “Coming to You” (“한글: 너에게 가는 길”) directed by Gyu-ri Byun (she/her), a groundbreaking Korean documentary about the mothers of queer adults in Korea. The documentary centers on the mothers, Nabi (she/her) and Vivian (she/her), who are members of PFLAG Korea (Parents, Families and Allies of LGBTAIQ+ People in Korea). Both women are cisgender and heterosexual. Prior to their children coming out to them, they held little to no knowledge about the queer community and harbored discriminatory opinions about queerness. Nonetheless, the documentary made no excuses for their past queerphobia and followed their journeys into wholehearted queer activism.
On May 6, 2023, UCLA’s Association of Chinese Americans hosted its 34th annual Chinese American Culture Night. The three-hour production featured performances by several Chinese cultural clubs and its main show, “lead me to the lilies.” As we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month throughout the month of May and anticipate Pride Month in June, “lead me to the lilies” beautifully portrays certain nuances of the queer, second-generation Asian American experience.
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is a love letter to the Asian American immigrant community and a startlingly sincere portrayal of modern queerness. In an era of formulaic superhero films and live-action Disney remakes, it is a breath of fresh air and a reminder that art can be transformative.
Still from Jeong Park/Searchlight Pictures Written by stand-up comic, writer, actor, and gay man Joel Kim Booster and directed by Andrew Ahn, “Fire Island” (2022) brings together a classic romance and the glitter-covered queer party scene off the shore of…