He’s one of our favorite comedians right now, and he has some things to say about gay app culture. Joel Kim Booster, who you may have seen on a few episodes of the hilarious Netflix series The Fix and who writes on the new Comedy Central series The Other Two, is ready for the apps to become less toxic, and that’s something that starts with users ceasing the spread of negativity.
Booster recently sat down with the podcast LGBTQ&A, where he and host Jeffrey Masters discussed guys on gay apps who present themselves as “not attracted to Asian men.” Joel Kim Booster, who lives in Los Angeles, says he encounters “No Asians” on apps all the time.
“You can not find me attractive, but to make that assumption about an entire race of people … the inherent assumption in ‘I’m not attracted to Asian men’ is that we all look the same or there’s an innate quality about Asian men that you cannot separate,” he says.
“Let’s be real, that’s the thing behind ‘No Asians’ — saying, ‘I like a guy with a big dick who’s masculine, who’s muscular, who’s XYZ’ — all of the things that are not associated with Asian men typically in terms of the stereotypes we see in the media and elsewhere. But there are Asian men that exist who would check those boxes.”
While app culture may not be a mirror image of “real life” — most people don’t flat-out ignore someone who walks up and says hello on the street or in a bar — the apps have indeed altered in-person communication among the gay community.
And Joel Kim Booster discusses how treatment on gay apps can be internalized by guys, particularly those who find themselves on the receiving end of declarations like “No Asians”:
I understand where those people are coming from when they’re like, “I don’t feel accepted. I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel respected in those spaces.” I fully get that because I’m there and I’m dancing and I’m good. And sometimes you interact with someone whose entire view of your self-worth is wrapped up in fuckability.
No matter how I force my body into a shape that’s more in the zeitgeist of gay male desire, I will always be a little bit apart from that world because of my race and because of perceptions about my race. And I’ve accepted it, but it is tough sometimes to be introduced to somebody and just have them look through you and you know exactly why. It’s because they’re not attracted to you.
I’m not attracted to everybody that I meet on a fucking dance floor, but I still am able to treat people I’m not attracted to with respect and humanity.
While not a ‘solution,’ the simple way to nip this in the bud is to simply present positivity and kindness both in our daily lives and on gay apps.
“I think we should all be interrogating our desires a little bit more. Maybe take an extra step sometimes to think about that,” Booster says. Instead of listing everything you’re not looking for, “maybe just list the things you like. It just makes it a healthier environment for all of us to exist in rather than just seeing it at the forefront, the ‘I don’t like you,’ which is tough.”