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The Most Influential LGBT Asian Icons

in UNITED STATES, 04/11/2012

While interning for HuffPost Gay Voices I have, for the past month, had the pleasure of researching, writing and ultimately sharing an LGBT icon every day in honor of LGBT History Month. Though I've been fortunate enough to go through grades K-12, college and grad school, I was never taught LGBT history in all those years (California is the only state that requires LGBT history in its curriculum), so this has been an incredible opportunity to recognize and educate myself on these extraordinary human beings.

When I was in the closet, I relied solely on gay media as my source of information on LGBT people, issues and stories. Where I am in my life now, having grown up a bit (there's still some growing up to do!), and having come out to my parents at 22 and lived in wonderful cities like Chicago and New York City, I still find myself constantly intrigued by our community, yearning for more knowledge about things like the Stonewall riots, the origins of Pride and, honestly, how RuPaul become such a fierce queen. Each icon I've discovered has instilled in me a sense of pride and even greater hope in the upswing of our civil rights movement.

HuffPost Gay Voices Senior Editor Noah Michelson reminded me to make sure that we reflect the diversity within our community when choosing our LGBT history icons for the month. That includes lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender men and women and LGBT people of color. So as we started compiling our list of people, I, for the life of me, could only think of George Takei to represent the Asian LGBT community. This disappointed me, because I'm a first-generation Filipino American. I felt like I should know more. (Maybe my Asian card, or more specifically my "gaysian" card, should have been taken away.)

So here's what I came up with: 54 LGBT Asians -- count 'em! -- in media, the arts, fashion and politics. From familiar faces such as Margaret Cho and BD Wong to perhaps lesser-known individuals such as Urvashi Vaid and Kim Coco Iwamoto, there are certainly many Asians in the LGBT community for us "gaysians" -- and everyone else -- to look up to.

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