March 30, 2022
Shanahan Center, Auditorium
320 E. Foothill Blvd.
Claremont, CA 91711
AIDS was a deadly pandemic that devastated the gay community in the 1980s and 1990s. Typical stories about the AIDS movement are full of death, suffering and anger. Asian American AIDS activists were no stranger to this grief and loss, but they also charted a different path of resistance, one that celebrated joy and sex as a way to bring the community together. In so doing, they redefined a queer Asian identity that is rooted in social justice. This presentation will tell this story through the visual images from that era. Their emphasis on joy is never more important in movement-building today.
Eric C. Wat is the author of Love Your Asian Body: AIDS Activism in Los Angeles, the follow-up to his The Making of a Gay Asian Community: An Oral History of Pre-AIDS Los Angeles, which Amy Sueyoshi, dean of ethnic studies at SFSU, described as a text that “plays a foundational role in queer Asian American history.” Wat is also the author of the L.A. Times bestselling novel SWIM, about a drug-addicted gay Chinese American man in the San Gabriel Valley who must plan his mother’s funeral while trying to stay sober. For many years, Wat ran a research and evaluation team at a community-based organization in Los Angeles. He continues to work with the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors on program design and evaluation and organizational development with a racial equity lens.
Co-Sponsors: The HMC Office of Institutional Diversity; Asian American Resource Center; Chicano Latino Student Affairs; Center for Asian Pacific American Students; Scripps Department of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies