soundless steps carried him to the belly of the campus. the thickness of groups lining the wall had comforted me so far. i felt secure in the company of folks i didn’t know, because i had faith. faith that someone, anyone would protect me from the acid that had just crept into our temporary holding place. 

carelessly he spit fire. 

“you know i fucked you in the ass. why you frontin like you don’t know me like that. i know you. come on. you were at my house last night…yeah that was you.”

PictureMy quiche! I'm clearly embarrassed to be Korean
Picture this: After consulting with everyone you know who owns a spatula, you prepare for your friends the best 3-course meal of sweet potato mash, steak, and spinach salad you've ever cooked in your entire life. Now imagine that, as you nervously watch people pick at your beloved culinary creations, a friend turns to you and says, "Listen, everything is great. But this salad has Italian dressing, the potatoes are from Ireland, and the wine is from Spain. This isn't an authentic representation of your unique ethnic roots."

"I just think," another friend quips, "that you're ashamed of your culture."

Fuck your tears.    

As a 5’6” male who was once told at an early age you weren't handsome enough to be an actor, I’d think you would be more in tuned with the idea of being perceived unattractive or undervalued.  But, alas, male privilege wins again.  I understand; your moment of clarity is the result of not only decades of white male privilege, but of prestige and wealth.  In a culture that systematically perpetuates the superiority of men, superficiality of women and the commodification and ownership of women’s bodies by males (while simultaneously rewarding ignorance and castigating those who attempt to shine light on injustice) – can we really be surprised at your sudden state of enlightenment?  

Reality turns to figments of imagination
lubricated through fabricated assimilation
so that public oppressions
are hid through third world dissections
two wrongs make a right
and as long as our morals are in sight
and religious sanctions are tight,
the pains of a people from clashing nations
become rights of passage and nationalistic sensations

For as long as I've remembered, my grandfather has played the starring role in all of my father's stories. Dad will always, to this day, proudly describe my grandfather to me and my little brother as a bold, patriotic, and dashingly handsome young man, a perfect specimen of Korean manhood who will risk everything to protect his loved ones.

Once, for an elementary school assignment on illustrating our heritages, I drew my grandfather as a raven-haired, smiling stick figure holding the Korean flag. When we presented our drawings, I proudly retold my father's stories about my perfect, adventurous grandfather, embellishing details until my fellow classmates' eyes bulged in awe or narrowed in disbelief. My grandpa, I thought, was the most accomplished, caring, hard-working, and loving person in the entire world. 

When I was growing up, my parents told me that sex was an exchange between two people who love each other very much. It was a special gift that you gave to another person, which should hold great value. Through my experiences in life, I’ve come to realize that sex is in fact a wonderful exchange. It just doesn’t necessarily need to be shared between two people who love each other...

If there is one thing I’ve learned in all my years as a gay man, it’s to always use a condom! But one of the assumptions built into the ‘condomize-or-else’ mantra is the notion that everyone can afford to engage in safe(r) sex in the first place. Well, I’m here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth—okay, well, maybe a few more things...

I have been in a middle-distance relationship (MDR) for just over a year. My partner and I live about 3 hours away from each other by car, and see each other every 2-3 weeks. Everyone is familiar with the perils of a long-distance relationship: lack of trust, infidelity, lack of physical intimacy, and the distance just getting between the lovers. With all these challenges, knowingly entering into an MDR might seem crazy. But for me, my middle-distance relationship has helped me regain my self-worth, autonomy, and intimacy within a relationship...