Every May, Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month is celebrated to honor the contributions and representation of the people and historical events of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. The month is primarily celebrated in North America and found its beginnings in June of 1977 when representatives Frank Horton and Norman Y. Mineta introduced a resolution to recognize the first 10 days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. Shortly thereafter a similar bill was introduced into the Senate after by Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga that would recognize the entire month of May. May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7th, 1843 and to mark the completion of the Transcontinental railroad on May 10th, 1869 in which the majority of the workers who built the railroad were Chinese immigrants.

Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates all the communities from throughout the Asian continent and the Pacific Islands including New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

Here at Compete Sports Diversity, we work to embody and represent the true meaning of “Sports Diversity” by sharing stories and representing the diverse communities that help make sports great. For Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’ll be telling the stories of Asian LGBTQI and Rainbow athletes from all over the world who are challenging the stigmas and stereotypes of LGBTQI Asians through participation and representation.

In addition, here we honor some of the Asian LGBTQI and Rainbow athletes and leaders we’ve covered this past year from all over the world.

Unfortunately, the visibility of LGBTQI Asian and Pacific Islander athletes is quite low, especially when compared to athletes of other racial communities. There is a lot of stigma and stereotypes, as well as sexist, misogynist, homophobic, biphobic, intersexist and transphobic attitudes that are very prevalent within the Asian and Pacific Islander LGBTQI communities. These kind of attitudes and behaviors are very harmful and contribute to the lack of visibility, representation and participation of openly LGBTQI athletes in sports. By sharing stories and standing up to the racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and intersexism, we can all work together to create change.

Follow the hashtag #AsianHeritageMonth and #AsianLGBTSports as we cover more Asian and Pacific Islander athletes in our community!

By Dirk Smith