My name is Justin Leroy, and I’m a film student at Wesleyan University. I’ll be doing research for my thesis documentary this summer, and I’m writing because you or members of your organization might be interested in participating in my project.
The research is built around my interest in the relationship between multiracial identity and queer identity. Because LGBTQ communities, which are often primarily white, can be very isolating even for monoracial people of color, a queer multiracial Asian-descent individual may face unique problems and complexities in terms of racial identity formation. I believe that multiracial people can and do actively influence the way they are perceived, which sometimes gives them more ‘racial mobility’ than monoracial Asians. While having such an option can be a significant privilege, the ethnic ambiguity of mixed race Asians might also draw them into unwanted racial identifications determined by their sexual identity or practices. In my project, I plan to identify and examine some of these potential issues and hypothesize their greater implications for the way we think about multiracial Asian identity.
For example, is a Chinese-white lesbian more likely to be seen as merely white than her straight counterpart because of the presumed whiteness of lesbian identity? Is a Black-Filipino gay man more likely to call himself mixed or Asian because of the desirability of such an “exotic” identity to white men? Would he be more likely to identify as just Black if he were heterosexual? After coming out, if an Indian-Mexican woman is disowned by her father, who is her only connection to Indian culture, does it affect her Asian identity?
My research will consist of individual and group interviews, both filmed. You may participate in either or both, and participation does not mean you must consent to having your interview included in the finished film.
To participate, you must meet three criteria:
1) Not be strictly heterosexual, either in identity or practice.
2) Be multiracial, meaning you have parents of two different races, two parents who are multiracial, or have parents who are of very different ethnicities within the same racial group (such as Japanese and Indian or Iranian and Thai).
3) Be Asian-identified. This includes not only East and Southeast Asian, but also South Asian, Central Asian, and West Asian (Middle Eastern).
I’m looking for underrepresented groups, such as non-East Asians, those who do not have a white parent, and people who live or grew up outside of the US, in particular. However everyone who meets the above requirements is more than welcome to participate.
If you are interested in participating, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d also be happy to hear any questions, comments, or suggestions.