April 23, 2004

Results of Meeting with Details Magazine

( VIA a list-serv I subscribe to - unedited and w/o hyperlinks )

From: Monica Taher [mailto:taher@glad.org]

This is an update from GLAAD's API LGBT Media Activist List

Yesterday Gay Asian & Pacific Islander Men New York (GAPIMNY) co-chair John Won and members Jih-Fei Cheng and Alain Dang, APIHR advisory board member Pauline Park and GLAAD's POC Media Manager Riley Snorton held an extremely successful editorial meeting with Details Magazine. Dan Peres, Editor-in-Chief, Claudia Chung, PR consultant for Fairchild, Patrick McCarthy, Editorials Editor and Chairman of Fairchild Publications, and Andrea Kaplin, Fairchild’s Communications Associate were present.

In our meeting, we made very clear the damaging effects the "Gay or Asian" feature had on the LGBT API community, explaining how the piece made gay APIs feel like they had to choose between the two communities, how it made them feel invisible, and how it exacerbated homophobia in the API community while playing on racial stereotypes in the LGBT community and mainstream society at large.

We spent the bulk of the meeting discussing solutions and presented a national effort, a letter signed by LGBT API organizations across the country including [see below] story ideas for future fair, accurate and inclusive coverage. Dan Peres, the Editor-In-Chief was actively engaged and expressed a real interest in some of the ideas we presented to him. He assured us that:

1) Details Magazine will move forward in a more sensitive manner and that there will be TANGIBLE results for our community to see in the next 6-8 months.

2) He shared that Details will be running a full page apology as well as many letters from organizations and individuals that expressed concern with the piece in their June/ July issue.

3) He also told us that we can look at the section "The Next Big Thing" in upcoming issues as a place where our story ideas for features and profiles of gay API entertainers and artists may appear.

4) He also felt that our specific concerns and demands for more
inclusive images could be addressed in the "Power Issue" when they discuss
the 30 most powerful men of the year, coming out in October.

5) Lastly, he encouraged us to "call him out" if he does not follow through on his commitment to more sensitive, inclusive coverage, and suggested a possible follow-up meeting in 6-8 months to hear feedback about Detail's coverage.

We are confident that Dan Peres & Details Magazine have an understanding of the "line that was crossed." However, be assured that we will be continue the dialogue to ensure that there is fair and accurate coverage of the API LGBT community.


April 21st, 2004

Dan Peres
Details Magazine
7 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001

Dear Dan:

The Asian Pacific Islander (API) lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender [LGBT] community and their allies are outraged by the sensationalism in the piece “Gay or Asian” published in Details Magazine’s April issue. Whitney McNally’s attempt to manipulate racial and sexual stereotypes only conveyed Details inability to be sensitive, fair, and accurate to minority communities.

The relationship that exists between stereotypical LGBT images and the increase in discrimination, prejudice and hate crimes that LGBT people endure is no secret to anyone. In fact, just last year, the Anti-Violence Project reports that in 2003, there were 1,968 hate incidents against LGBT people. Three-percent (3%) of these victims identified as API. While “Gay or Asian” plays on the stereotype of the effeminate Asian male, this startling increase of victims who may not identify as LGBT can also be an indicator of the harm that this piece can do.

However, we are here to begin a dialogue with you about the impact these images have on our community and how “playing” with social stereotypes can be extremely damaging and have very dangerous consequences for those who are made the subjects of that humor. In an effort to help mend the controversy, we are presenting you with a series of story ideas that your publication can use to help mend the controversy by looking deeper into the LGBT API community. We are confident that your staff will utilize these ideas in the very, very near future and will make the American Society of Magazine Editors’ inclusion for a “National Magazine Award for General Excellence” – a just and fair nomination.

* A profile of an artist/ activist who does work in the API community and is also gay or bisexual.
* A feature story on a famous, openly gay artist or entertainer.
* A feature story on gay API images in mainstream media, common stereotypes, sensationalistic coverage and how experts assure that these only promote more discrimination and hate crimes: talk about what angered your readers about the “Gay or Asian” piece.
* A profile on a gay API couple and its tribulations on seeking to legalize same-sex marriage.
* A feature story on a bi-national male API couple and the problems one of them faces when asked to leave the U.S. because of his undocumented status.
* Profiles of openly gay API professionals [lawyers, doctors, etc.]
* A feature story on homosexuality and the API community.


- Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
- Gay Asian & Pacific Islander Men of New York (GAPIMNY)
- Massachusetts Area South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association (MASALA) - Boston
- Asian/Pacific Islander Queers United for Action (AQUA) – Washington, D.C.
- Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA)- San Francisco
- Asian Pacific Islander Community AIDS project (APICAP) - San Diego
- API Family Pride
- Asian Pacific American Coalition for Equality (APACE)
- National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF) – Washington, D.C. Chapter
- MOTHRA, Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Al-Fatiha, Queer Muslim LGBT organization
- Queer Asian pacific Alliance (QAPA) – Boston & New England

Posted by ronn at April 23, 2004 02:43 AM

this is an interesting development. as an gay asian, i have often had to disabuse people that i am submissive or effeminate (despite the exaggerations in my blog). i am reminded of that quote about ian mckellen, "is he gay or british"? nobody seemed to have minded then. thanks for posting ronn. Posted by: no milk on April 23, 2004 05:19 PM
Well to tell you the truth, I was ambivalent about posting this. I think the article was racist and homophobic, but I get the sense that more people are upset that they're being portrayed as gay than anything other issue. I can assure you that there are strong, powerful, super-masculine Asian men that don't have a point to prove. And there's nothing wrong with being effiminate (not that I'm implying you're of that school of thought). My fav quote whenever I see the hated, pointless and self-hating mantra "no fat, no fems, no drugs" is: Ain't nothing funnier than a fat bitch on crack! (excuse the un-PCness, I'm happy to be approaching the weekend. LOL) Posted by: ronn on April 23, 2004 06:50 PM