Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2024

Happy Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month! Join us in celebrating the lasting impact of AANHPI LGBTQ+ advocates, artists, and athletes.

Esera Tuaolo (he/him)

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Esera Tuaolo holds a multifaceted background as a former NFL football player and an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. His journey gained public attention in 2003 when he came out as gay, defying the entrenched hyper-masculine culture prevalent in professional football. Despite facing the weight of societal expectations, Tuaolo navigated through immense challenges, including pressures to conceal his sexuality, bouts of depression, and struggles with alcoholism.  

Tuaolo actively engages in public discourse on inclusion, diversity, and the persistence of homophobia. In his role as Executive Director of Hate Is Wrong, a nonprofit organization committed to fostering diversity in sports and combating bullying among youth, he leverages his platform and lived experiences to enact tangible change, striving to create a world where everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, can thrive. 

Hayley Kiyoko (she/her)

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Hayley Kiyoko is a singer, songwriter, actress, dancer, and director. She identifies as a multiracial white and Japanese lesbian. Kiyoko works towards inspiring confidence in young people that struggle with being queer and normalizing lesbian relationships in mainstream music. More recently, she has been outspoken about mental health, chronic stress, and the importance of conversations about the connections between mental and physical health. 

Ifti Nasim (he/him)

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Ifti Nasim was a gay Pakistani American poet, writer, broadcaster, and activist. When he was 16, Nasim was shot after reading a poem at a protest against martial law. Nasim went on to co-found Chicago Sangat, an organization to support the LGBTQ+ South Asian community, and was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1996. Since he died in 2011, Nasim has been celebrated for his activism against war, HIV, social injustice, and homophobia in his native Pakistan and other Muslim nations. 

Vikram Seth (he/him)

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Vikram Seth is a bisexual Indian novelist and poet. He has written several novels and poetry books including A Suitable Boy, which has received numerous awards and was adapted as a limited series released in 2020. Seth has spoken on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community, including writing a poem called “Through Love’s Great Power” in reaction to the criminalization of gay sex in India. 

Kit Yan (they/he/she)

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Kit Yan is known for their significant contributions as a queer, transgender, Asian-American artist and activist. Their journey through spoken word poetry and performance art has not only garnered acclaim but also served as a powerful platform for advocating LGBTQ+ rights and visibility. Kit’s latest project “Interstate,” co-created with Melissa Li, is a musical with trans and queer Asian American leads who go on a road trip/tour while also navigating love, gender, and finding community. 

Siu Fung Law (they/them)

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Siu Fung Law has dedicated their efforts to promoting inclusivity within athletic spaces and breaking down barriers. Law’s journey gained recognition when they became the world’s first nonbinary professional bodybuilder. 

Law uses their platform to discuss topics such as gender diversity, LGBTQ+ rights, and the intersection of identity and sports. Their engaging talks inspire audiences to embrace authenticity and foster environments of acceptance. 

Utada Hikaru (she/they)

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Utada Hikaru, known affectionately as “Hikki” by fans, is a nonbinary Japanese and American singer-songwriter. Their soulful melodies and introspective lyrics have earned them global acclaim ever since their debut 1999 album, First Love, which she released in 1999 at 16 years old. The album is still the bestselling album in Japanese history. while their advocacy for gender equity, LGBTQI+ rights, and racial equality amplifies their impact beyond music. Fearlessly exploring themes of identity and societal norms, Hikaru encourages listeners to embrace authenticity and challenge stereotypes. Their most recent album, BAD MODE, is the first since coming out as nonbinary. Their inspiration for the album draws from the challenges of COVID lockdown, mental health, and RuPaul’s Drag Race