We are seeking individuals who (1) identify as Asian American, (2) identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, and (3) are at least 18 years of age to complete a confidential web-based survey that will ask you about the impact of discrimination on Asian American LGB persons.
The entire study should take approximately 30-40 minutes. The answers you provide will be kept completely confidential. You will not be asked to provide your name on the inventory.
We would greatly appreciate you taking part in the survey and contributing to our understanding of factors that contribute to the well-being of Asian American LGB.
AS A THANK YOU, PARTICIPANTS WHO COMPLETE THE SURVEY CAN ENTER INTO A LOTTERY DRAWING TO WIN ONE OF FOUR $25 GIFT CERTIFICATES OR ONE OF FOUR $50 GIFT CERTIFICATES.
For more information about the study, and to participate, please go to https://illinois.edu/sb/sec/4852751
Any questions can be addressed to Dr. Frances Shen (email: firstname.lastname@example.org), Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois Springfield.
This research has been reviewed and approved by the UIS Human Subjects Review Officer, Dr. Lynn Pardie. Dr. Pardie can be reached at 217-206-6614 to answer any questions about your rights as a volunteer participant in this study.
I just took this survey with my mom. It was a good way to open up and discuss LGB issues that we normally wouldn’t talk about. If you have the time I suggest taking it—it was a very eye-opening experience that makes you think about how you view yourself and how you view the intersection between your culture, your sexuality, and your values.
(P.S. It only took like 20 minutes max so don’t be discouraged about the timing.)
Since the cheapest bus to Virginia only took me as far as D.C., I had to travel an additional 2 hours by car to get to Charlottesville. Luckily, Peter was nice enough to pick me up from the D.C. bus station and drive me back to his campus.
We were 10 minutes away from his apartment when we stopped at a red light. “Finally, I get to kiss you!” he said as he leaned over towards me. It was actually really cute how he had waited for almost 2 hours to hit a red light just so he could give me a kiss. After a quick peck, the light turned green again and Peter began accelerating. That’s when we saw the blue and red lights.
The car behind us turned out to be a cop. Peter and I were in disbelief that he was pulling us over—what had we done wrong? We pulled into a nearby parking lot and waited for the officer to get out of his car.
When he approached Peter’s window, he asked in his slow, Southern drawl, “Do you know how fast you were going?” Peter responded that he did not know. The officer continued, “I have on my radar gun that you were going 86 miles per hour past a group of cars back there. That’s reckless driving, you know that?”
Peter and I were stunned. 86 miles per hour? Group of cars? Reckless driving? What was he talking about?
“License and registration, please.” Peter calmly handed the officer his information but looked visibly shaken. I was pretty uneasy as well. When the officer returned to his car, Peter and I tried to figure out what was going on. We definitely were not going 86 miles per hour—both of us constantly watched the speedometer and it never once went over 60 mph. Neither of us saw any “group of cars”—there was one car to our right, the cop car behind us, and two cars across the street. We never passed anyone, not to mention the officer didn’t turn his lights on until the light went green at the intersection where we stopped. In the back of my mind I had an idea of why we were pulled over, but I didn’t want to make that ugly assumption.
The officer returned to our car and handed Peter a yellow slip of paper. “This is a summons for your appearance in court on ___________. You were going 86 mph, which is considered reckless driving, so you can discuss the ticket there.”
“Officer, there must be some kind of mistake,” Peter said. He tried explaining how we never once went over 60 and that we never passed a group of cars along the road.
The officer wouldn’t budge. “I saw a dark, compact car driving by at 86 miles per hour and you’re the only car that fits that description. Everyone else around you was an SUV or a van. If you have a problem with the ticket you can bring it up in court.”
Peter pointed out that there were only 2 cars around us—one compact car to our left and another behind us (the cop car) so it could have been someone else. But the officer wasn’t having it and left us with the ticket and the option to dispute it later on. With that and a warning to “Drive slower next time,” the cop turned and went back to his vehicle.
By this point, it was pretty clear why the officer has pulled us over. We weren’t speeding; we weren’t endangering other drivers; we weren’t driving recklessly. Those weren’t the problem. The problem was that we were gay. The silhouette of two men kissing in the privacy of their own car made us a target for a bored, ignorant Virginia cop. Not only that, he falsified evidence to justify the summons, to justify his homophobia. I’m probably the last person to play the gay victim card, but I don’t know how else to describe this scenario with any word other than discrimination.
Had it been anyone else—another student, a restaurant server, a complete stranger on the street—I would have told them to fuck off and brushed aside their comments. But something about being targeted by a cop, by someone in whom I’m supposed to trust and depend on for my own safety, really shook me. From that point on I never felt entirely safe or comfortable in Virginia. I felt unwelcomed and out of place. I felt like I was forced back into the closet again.
But I felt even worse for Peter. The pressure of facing a judge to explain this story—particularly to a judge from the same county as this cop, who might be unsympathetic to such a complaint—is intimidating and discouraging. And even though I’m scared too, I need to be there for him to help tell the truth and to make sure that this injustice is struck down.
As angry as I am at that cop, I’m also a little angry at myself. I was naive to think that everywhere was like New York, that everyone was becoming more accepting and more tolerant towards the LGBT community. This incident was just a slap in the face that as much as this country is changing for the better, there are still places that are desperately trying to stay the same.