18 Queer People Of Asian Descent Who Are Kicking Ass in 2021
Whether creating representation through art or performing, working to change policies as an advocate or politician or some other form of valuable impact, LGBTQ Asian and Asian-American people are making a difference in these first moments of 2021.
And while there are way too many LGBTQ Asian and Asian-American rockstars than can be included in one article, we wanted to take a moment to spotlight some of the most significant and impactful people in our community.
Here are 18 LGBTQ Asian and Asian-Americans who are truly kicking ass in 2021:
1. Joel Kim Booster
This openly gay comedian has had a great couple of years. We’re huge fans of his work on network TV series Sunnyside and his podcast Urgent Care.
2. Maulik Pancholy
This Indian-American 30 Rock and Weeds actor came out as gay in 2013. He then served in the Obama Administration’s Advisory Commission on Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders.
3. Helen Zia
Zia is an award-winning author and journalist who has written a spoken out for LGBTQ and Asian-American issues. She also testified for the plaintiffs in the 2010 Perry v. Schwarzenegger case, which challenged California’s anti-gay marriage law Proposition 8.
4. Evan Low
This California lawmaker has continually fought for LGBTQ rights in California. Because of that, he’s currently serving as the chair of the state’s Legislative LGTBQ Caucus and the vice chair of California’s Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus.
5. Lilly Singh
This YouTuber rose to fame for creating hilarious skits online. Since then, she has transitioned into hosting her own late-night show on network television, the first person of Indian descent to do so in America.
6. Kim Chi
Under the stage name Kim Chi, Sang-Young Shin became the first Korean-American drag queen on American national television (Season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race). New York magazine named her the 17th most powerful drag queen in America.
7. Nico Santos
This Filipino-American actor rose to fame as he appeared in Crazy Rich Asians and NBC’s Superstore. In 2018, he was nominated for the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
8. Bretman Rock
Another Filipino-American, Bretman Rock is a beauty influencer and social media personality hailing from Hawaii. Outside of his standard makeup tutorials on YouTube, he’s been dabbling with gaming and is preparing for his own reality show on MTV.
9. Cecilia Chung
Cecilia Chung is a trans Chinese woman who has continually advocated for LGBTQ rights, human rights and several social justice issues, including HIV treatment education.
10. Manvendra Singh Gohil
Manvendra Singh Gohil is India’s first openly gay prince. He’s an advocate for LGBTQ rights and HIV awareness, prevention and treatment. He has even gone so far as to open his palace to vulnerable LGBTQ people.
11. Angel Lama
At the end of 2020, Angel Lama was celebrated for becoming Miss Universe Nepal finalist. She did so in order to create trans visibility in the country and in beauty pageants.
12. Mark Takano
This Japanese-American is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Representing California, Takano became the first openly gay member of color in the U.S. Congress.
13. Nishimura Kodo
Kodo is a Japanese citizen mixing fashion with religion and LGBTQ issues. As Buddhist monks are able to have side jobs and passions, he’s working part-time as a makeup artist. He also gives speeches on LGBTQ rights and has written a book on his life.
14. Jameela Jamil
The Good Place star has openly advocated for body positivity, mental health and women’s rights. She then came out as not straight after her casting in HBO’s ballroom competition series Legendary.
15. George Takei
The former Star Trek star has been openly gay since 2005. Since then, he has openly advocated for LGBTQ rights and Asian-American issues.
16. Vikram Seth
The Indian novelist and poet is internationally celebrated for his writing prowess. Identifying as bisexual, he has included LGBTQ issues into his art, like the poem “Thorugh Love’s Great Power,” a reaction to the criminalization of gay sex in India.
Chellaman is many things: an actor, queer, trans, deaf, Chinese, Jewish, an artist, a model, an advocate, an actor and more. Chellaman gained recognition for documenting his transition, and has stayed prominent for his art and his open conversations about mental health, disability and body positivity.
18. Hayley Kiyoko
While working in ‘the industry’ since her youth, she rose to stardom in 2017. Her queer-positive music and perspective gained popularity with Gen Z, and she coined the term 20gayteen, which resonated with queer kids on the web.