This is a weekly newsletter to put a face to the staff at the DC Center. Every week we will be featuring a staff member. This week, meet Ping! Ping is our general intern. This summer Ping has been working with Shareese on End Violence Against Sex Workers and with Dee Curry on Solutions to Wellness Conference and Awards Banquet.
I started out volunteering and soon I grew to love the feeling of being part of the community by participating in the events. I wanted to do a little bit more by joining the team and helping organize some of the events, where I get to interact with awesome people in real life.
What is music anthem?
Jie Mei (姊妹) by A-Mei (1996). It’s the anthem for many gay men in Taiwan, I believe. The heartwarming message unites us.
What is your favorite part about the LGBTQ+ community?
The activism. Every time I look back on the progress we’ve made over time, I feel pumped to go even further. The energy coming from all of us as a community even in times of setbacks keeps me motivated. This collective endeavor to make lives better continues to inspire me.
What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there?
Roosevelt Island. It’s on Potomac River but it’s still part of DC. It’s a great place for a walk to escape the city, even when it’s pouring. I love taking a walk or jogging or simply sitting on a bench somewhere to enjoy the time alone.
What do you think the LGBTQ+ community needs to improve on?
Communication. We have such diversity within the community that sometimes there are misunderstandings that stands in the way of accomplishing great work. I think communication is the key to having all the different voices being heard, from which we can start to address the different needs and concerns our members have to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment.
What is your favorite Queer movie?
Somewhere I Have Never Travelled/帶我去遠方 (2009). I didn’t know it was a Queer movie when I went to the cinema but I was bawling when I left as the sense of loss and not fitting in resonated so much.
What has been your favorite moment while working in The DC Center?
That moment when someone from Alaska visited the Center and I showed her around and provided some resources she was looking for, I felt how directly impactful the work we are doing is on people’s lives.
What clothing item is a staple in your wardrobe?
I love layers. If I have to pick just one item, it’d be vests. They’re versatile; casual yet professional. I also love the feeling of being hugged tightly around my waist (by a vest).
What color would you paint the White House, given the chance?
Navy blue. I just love that color.
Who do you most look up to in the queer community?
My professors at National Central University, including Fifi Ding and Hans Huang, who are as actively involved and outspoken in the classroom as they are on the street as activists.
2 thoughts on “Meet Ping-Hsuan”
Ni hao Ping,
Thank you for writing about inclusivity. Studies confirm anecdotal experience that gay men under thirty do not even care about let alone respect gay men over sixty. I have even been told by young gay men that I am not welcome in gay bars which is ironic given that I am a Stonewall veteran. The fact that the Center has a group for senior does not change this.
“Yet Another Problem for Older Gay Men: “Internalized Gay Ageism” by J. Bryan Lowder
Fortunately, the researchers identified one factor that shows promise in at least partially softening the “social stress” of IGA: mattering. “Mattering,” according to the paper, “refers to the degree to which people feel they are an important part of the world around them.” It goes on: “People with a high sense of mattering feel that others think about them, seek their advice, or care about what happens to them.” A sense of mattering could come from a variety of sources, but one that immediately comes to mind is for young gay men to make a point of spending time and developing friendships with older gay men. There’s something of a taboo on this within the community—partially due to the (sometimes true) idea that older gay men are only after sex and partially because younger gay men can be incurious, historically ignorant babies—but it’s one we have to overcome. I have long encouraged cross-generational conversation as a way of transmitting and preserving our history—but now we know it’s also essential to the health of the guys who made it possible for us to be out in the first place.
To their credit, the paper authors recognize the injustice inherent in having our heroes think they don’t matter because they are no longer idealized young studs: “These men have traversed unparalleled, personally relevant historical changes across their adult lives and have paved the way for younger generations of sexual minorities to live in a time of less institutionalized discrimination,” they write in the conclusion. “Still, they are subject to feeling socially invisible and depreciated in their later years, especially within the gay male community.” This is shameful—the very place they should feel at home and cared for should not be a source of stress. We can and must do better.
May I recommend the following:
Passions of the Cut Sleeve: The Male Homosexual Tradition in China by Brett Hirsch (1992)
Gay and Lesbian Asia: Culture, Identity, Community by Gerard Sullivan and Peter A. Jackson
Taiwanese Culture, Taiwanese Society by Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong (2008) (authors are gay)
Orientations by Peter Fung (1986)
Re: Orientations (2016)
Asian/Pacific Islander Queers United for Action (AQUA)
Member of Executive Committee and Washington Liaison for Stonewall Veterans Association
Thank you for your comment and for the useful references! I am in fact a member of AQUA.
I’m sorry about what you experienced. We definitely want to work on improving building better connections and establishing relationships among community members. I hope you would be interested in some of our events and together we can address this issue.