Posted on Monday 1st of June 2020 02:50:04 AM
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"You're biracial, so you're like, 'Why am I dating guys that are biracial? Why can't I just get straight?' So we're trying to show people that you don't need to feel like you're a different race to find love. If you don't identify with one racial group, there's something there. And you don't necessarily have to meeting gay guys online be a white guy. We don't think that's a bad thing. You don't have to be one ethnicity to be happy. It's a spectrum. "We're not trying to say you need to just identify with one ethnicity. There's so much diversity out there. We don't want to pigeonhole anybody into one thing."
And the world is a better place because of them. Shwetak has found that men from all over gay men singles the world have been receptive to her and her friend, and she's found a community of like-minded people in her hometown of Seattle.
Shwetak isn't alone in her love for the culture of men around the world. It's not just the people on Tinder and in Facebook groups like "Asian for Women." There's also a growing, but largely unknown, Asian male population on the web.
Shwetak's online dating profile lists four Asian-American, and two White, profiles. There are thousands of gay chat rooms men who love Asian-Americans, and Shwetak believes that if gay dating sites online the online dating sites could find that many, maybe more Asian women would get to meet them. That's not to say that Asian men are incapable of finding Asian women. In fact, they're a lot like straight women. Many Asian men have women who are into them. "The number of Asian guys that have Asian women is pretty limited," says Shwetak. "It's very rare. The vast majority of them are single, or even have multiple Asian girlfriends." Shwetak is working to increase the number of Asian men who are willing to meet Asian women, both as an online dating service, as gay men sites well as an in-person meet-up. Shwetak, who identifies as "androgynous" and is biracial, says that he has dated men of all races and sexual orientations. "There are a lot of guys from all backgrounds who are really into Asian women, but a lot of them, I think, are still shy," he says. "They're still not comfortable asking, 'What's up with Asian women?'" While some of Shwetak's Asian dates have been more receptive, many are not. He says many of the Asian men he has dated are hesitant because of the "chicken or the egg" issue — that is, they feel as if they are dating Asian women to win Asian women over, while still having Asian male friends. "A lot of them are so concerned about being labeled as gay, and the Asian community, that they're not even sure how to deal with the whole Asian male friendship thing," he says. "I just find the whole thing so strange."
When asked if he'd like to date a man of color, Shwetak says he's had some mixed results. "A lot of them were like, 'Oh, cool, you've made me uncomfortable, and it's like, 'You know what? I really like you and I want to do more with you," he says. "They're not looking to just be friends, they're looking for something more in life, but they're not exactly sure what that something is." Some Asian men, like Zia and the other Asian guys in the "Bros from the East" video, are more open to dating men of color than others. Shwetak himself is not quite so open.
"I do not have any kind of dating profile and I have not had any gay dating experiences with any man from the East, period," he says. Shwetak says he doesn't know how to answer this, either. He is not attracted to Asian men because he is a black man. "I am Asian, so I am a black man, and that's the only reason I date Asian men." He is, however, a member of the Asian American community and he has done his part to promote racial awareness through his work as a civil rights attorney. "When I see an Asian American man, I feel like I have the opportunity to become friends with him," he says. "But I just don't see the point in dating someone who looks different than me. If they do get together, it will be at a party. I don't want to hang out with them at work." Shwetak also doesn't date white men because "that's what everyone else is doing." Shwetak says he knows he won't be able to date white men, but he wants to change that perception. "It's the worst thing in the world to not date someone because they are white. You're just trying to find something that you think is going to satisfy your curiosity. If you don't have enough reasons to date someone, I think you should go find someone else. Maybe it's me, maybe it's someone you know. I don't even know who I want to date at this point."
Shwetak's friend and roommate, Raveena, describes a white male experience as "pretty much like that of most heterosexual people. It's about finding someone that's compatible, which I guess is the same as white people finding a white person." However, Raveena says she knows a number of white people who have no problem with dating white people because "we don't have to live up to somebody's expectations and have to conform to their perception." She explains that online gay chat she has only dated white guys and that the majority of white guys she has dated have been in the "middle of the pack."
One thing that Shwetak and Raveena have in common is that they both grew up in the '90s and '00s when they were the only gay person at their school. Shwetak recalls the time when she first noticed the way she looked in a gay bar in New York City: "I used to look like a girl when I was in the gym or out on the town…I just didn't know what to do, it felt awkward and weird. My whole sense of self was weird, I'd never feel comfortable with that, and I was kind of insecure about it."
Shwetak also thinks that there is "a certain lack of gay visibility," which may be because gay people are meet gay guys online "very sensitive about how they look. Gay people are so sensitive and self-conscious about how they look," Shwetak explains. "If you're not like the average gay guy, then you're not a person to me, and that's a problem for a lot of people who want to have a successful and fulfilling relationship."
Raveena shares her own thoughts on this topic: "A lot of people, like myself, are very sensitive, and we're very much afraid to look in the mirror, so for me, I didn't look like a gay guy until I had to come out to people. I didn't feel comfortable because I was always afraid of how people would react.