As Pride Week gets under way in New York City, NY1 turns its focus to the LGBT community's pursuit of civil rights, including a look at how gay Asians say they are struggling to find their voice as they fight for issues like immigration reform. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.
Gay rights activist Dennis Chin says Asians are all but invisible in the struggle for civil rights within the LGBTQ community and he's trying to change that through his organization Gay Asian Pacific Islander Men of New York.
In 2012, U.S. Census officials reported that Asians were the fastest growing group in the nation. And it's also estimated that 15 percent of undocumented LGBTQ adults are Asian or Pacific Islander. Chin says it's time for their voices to be heard.
"If we're able to lift up those stories and show how we are connected to them I think we can really make transformative change, and in this case make immigration reform happen," Chin said.
Sarah Kurian of the queer organization SALGA-NYC says the fight for immigration reform is critical for the LGBTQ community.
"I think especially with a community like ours where there are so many members from countries in South Asia, who come here for school, some for work, and then meet, dating or partnering with Americans," Kurian noted.
But immigration reform is not the only issue on the front burner. Ryan Shen, a queer transgender man with an organization called Q-Wave, says safety is also a major issue.
"Very often transgender folks have faced violence and very often news media does not cover it and when they do cover it they sort of shed the light as if the transgender person was a dysfunctional part of society," Shen said.
Gay Asian activists say they plan to be out in force at this Sunday's Pride Parade and want their sisters and brothers in the LGBTQ community to remember Asians in the struggle for equality.