Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dating and Mating with Alan Irgang: Racism in the Gay Dating Scene

Ask Alan about love, romance, and relationships (and anything) else here! *All private information is kept confidential

Dear Alan,

I am an Asian guy, turning 26yo this year. I have been in this new city and gay neighborhood for almost a year now, it is sad to say that I am feeling out of place in the gay community.

I tried hard to deny this but I felt sexuality and romance could be so racist. I am surprised to see how people treat each other according to race while looking for sex or dates. Most people would not be interested when I walk in a bar. Surfing on the internet there are profiles after profiles that excludes Asians just on the basis of race. I had struggled for years with my sexuality, now I still do not have close gay friends that accept me as a person inside.

Dating is even a bigger challenge. Keeping a guy interested rarely happens. I tried to accept that it was just me they rejected, but most of the time my personality, my taste and my capacity for love could be completely ignored or not given any chance to be shown. I'm tired of this. I felt very frustrated and hurt.
Please give me some guidance...


Dear Ken,

Your letter reflects the sad and unfortunate reality that racism does exist in the gay community and beyond. It is particularly painful when you feel personally impacted by this. Feelings of frustration, rejection, exclusion, and inferiority make the problem particularly difficult to cope with.

I'm happy to hear you reflect that you see yourself as more than just your race. You have a lot to offer to another in a romantic relationship and the challenge is finding a mate that is the right fit for you. I hope you can maintain hope for having the kind of relationship you desire for yourself, while considering changing your strategy for calling it into your life. Although frequenting bars and online dating websites are a very popular means of meeting guys, given the amount of time and energy people devote to both, the payoff isn't all that great. There is so much judgment that goes on in those venues that many people end up feeling hurt and rejected. I recommend devoting more effort to getting involved in activities and organizations that make you feel good about yourself. This will also help you feel more included in the gay community. If you live in a large city like Chicago, there are over 200 established LGBT organizations. In particular, I encourage you to check out Asians and Friends of Chicago. Whether you are more attracted to Asian men or men of other races, the membership of this organization is quite diverse.

You might also want to consider participating in my 6 week group called Dating & Mating. Among many other topics related to dating and relationship building, we explore the best ways of meeting potential mates. The next group begins April 12. See my website for more information: www.alanirgang.com

Thank you for writing Ken. I wish you all the best in your new social strategy!

Alan Irgang, LCSW is a psychotherapist and “dating coach” in private practice in Chicago. He is also on the faculty of the Loyola University School of Social Work where he teaches graduate level courses in Human Sexuality. Alan has been in private practice since 1998 and has been facilitating groups for singles about dating and relationships for six years. Check out his website www.alanirgang.com for more information about his practice and his upcoming seminars for singles. Questions may be submitted to Alan at lifelube@gmail.com; all private information will be kept confidential.

1 comment:

  1. Asians & Friends might be a good fit, but it might also reinforce a race-ghetto-fetish sensibility. I would recommend joining a group based on interests rather than color. Working side-by-side with others because of shared passion is what will show the YOU that is not skin deep.

    If you want to learn about the struggle with peers, Gay Asian Pacific Islanders in Chicago or another city might give you a more contemporary and empowering stance.


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