By Dirk Smith, M.Sc, SDL (He/Him)

Every May is celebrated as Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month to honor and recognize the accomplishments, contributions, and influence of people of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage on western history and culture. 2021’s API Month is even more important following the rise of anti-Asian racism throughout the US and other countries as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and political fear mongering that has led to a sharp rise in hate crimes and violence against people of Asian and Pacific Island descent.

According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, Anti-Asian hate crimes in 16 of the largest cities in the United States of America has increased by 145% in 2020 compared to 2019 and in correlation with the rise of COVID-19 cases.

It is important to recognize the contribution of people who are of Asian and Pacific Island decent to our society and culture so that we can take a stand against racism through education, knowledge, and representation. So, for Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we will present a series of articles covering different aspects of #SportsDiversity and the contributions of people of Asian and Pacific Islander people.

  • History of Asian culture and influence on western sports.
  • Prominent Asian athletes in sports history.
  • What it means to be Asian and being LGBTQIA+
  • Modern Day API LGBTQIA+ Athletes
  • LGBTQIA+ Sports in Asia

The vast diversity of cultures and people from Asia means that we will scratch the surface to the contributions of API people on our society today, but it is important to highlight at least some of these contributions and elevate the voices and platforms of LGBTQIA+ people of Asian descent. With help from bodybuilder, activist, and Compete Sports Diversity contributor, Amazin LêThị, we hope to learn, educate, and promote discussion around these topics during these times.

Photo by Sara Melikian via Wikimedia Commons