San Francisco LGBTQIA Community Marches In Solidarity With Asians

Historically, when San Franciscans mourn, some sort of action is taken.

San Francisco’s LGBTQIA community gathered Sunday in solidarity with Asian community members, days after a white man murdered eight in a rampage targeted at Asian businesses in Atlanta.

The queer community in America has a long history of activism. In San Francisco, that spirit of protest is often tied to tragedy. Like the White Night Riots in 1979, when 5,000 people marched on City Hall from The Castro, San Francisco’s gay neighborhood, in response to a lenient sentence for Harvey Milk’s murderer.

Historically, when San Franciscans mourn, some sort of action is taken.

On Sunday the weather was sunny and crisp, and the mood mostly celebratory as local politicians like gay State Senator Scott Weiner offered words of encouragement and solidarity, “I am not a member of the AAPI community,” he said, “but I am a Jew, and a gay man. I know what happens when society refuses to take responsibility for a pandemic and decides to scapegoat marginalized communities.”

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A 7 minute radio story compiled from audio of the event.

Of everyone who spoke, including San Francisco Mayor London Breed, it was only District Attorney Chesa Boudin who received a mixed reaction. As Boudin left the stage, a woman yelled, “Will you prosecute the offenders?” The District Attorney did not answer.

A protestor named Jennifer proudly carried a sign that read “Fuck your Asian fetish!” in huge letters. From the platform, the back of a converted school bus, she read from an online reply to her sign. “Men like me (self identified Asian fetishists) are probably the strongest supporters of the Asian community,” boos rang out as Jennifer continued, “(Asian women) are delicate and beautiful. I wish I could get an Asian wife like you to love and protect.” The boos turned to a brief, disgusted silence. She also explained what a ‘rice daddy’ is and invited anyone cruising at the event to leave, “Are you really here for us?”

“If you have Asian friends and colleagues, check in on them regularly and yesterday,” says Eugene Clifton Cha, the son of Korean immigrants. His advice to Asians, “give yourself some fucking grace and self-compassion. Mental health and well-being are real and important. At some point (though) our pain must turn to resolve — to action — for change.” After a moment Cha added, “when you’ve reached that point…let’s talk.”

Christopher J. Beale is an independent multimedia journalist based in San Francisco. This piece was written for publication in Outword Magazine, and more photos will be published there on March 23.

Freelance multimedia journalist and broadcaster based in San Francisco. Bylines: KQED, Outword Magazine, The Bold Italic

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