Smithsonian, AARP and Kundiman Present “A Day in the Queer Life of Asian Pacific America”

Digital Exhibition Features Various Media Documenting the Lives of LGBTQ Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
March 25, 2019
News Release
Social Media Share Tools
A Day in the Queer Life Graphic

A digital exhibition “A Day in the Queer Life of Asian Pacific America” is now available at The exhibition, which will be updated with new material through August, is a collaboration of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, AARP and Kundiman.

The past 50 years have witnessed huge strides in visibility for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities, but with little attention focused on Asian American and Pacific Islander experiences. Featuring solicited and crowd-sourced media, including short film, photography, boomerangs, video poems and a long-form essays, this virtual exhibition explores queer life in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities throughout the country.

Featured sections of the exhibition include:

  • Queer Elders: a series of four video shorts of queer elders in San Francisco, Los Angeles and sites in the South and Midwest U.S., curated by archivist, photographer and filmmaker Mia Nakano
  • Queer Check-ins: a series of 12 video poem “check ins” by queer diasporic poets throughout the U.S. and beyond, curated by poet Franny Choi
  • Queer Youth: crowd-sourced photography and short video by queer youth
  • Queer Motion: crowd-sourced boomerangs exploring queer survival, heartbreak and joy set to motion
  • Queer Time: a long-form essay on queer experience of time by poet Rajiv Mohabir

“As an extension of our 2014 digital exhibition ‘A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America,’ this project examines everyday life all across Asian Pacific America in order to illuminate the vast and complex nature of the Asian Pacific American identity,” said Lisa Sasaki, the director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. “Most importantly, it brings much-needed visibility to the Asian American and Pacific Islander LGBTQ community by sharing the stories of elders, youth and—through calls for crowd-sourced material—any community member.”

“A Day in the Queer Life of Asian Pacific America” uses the designation “queer” to understand sexual and gender identity as often fluid and complex, while recognizing the term’s histories of derogatory usage.

“The 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall uprising feels like a good time to take stock of how far we’ve come and how far we must go to ensure that all LGBT older adults are free to be their whole selves, in every community under the rainbow, without fear of any kind of discrimination,” said Nii-Quartelai Quartey, AARP senior advisor and national LGBT liaison. “AARP is proud to do our part to advance and maintain the dignity of all of our members.”

About the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

Established in 1997, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center is a national resource for discovering the consequence and complexity of the Asian Pacific American experience through collaboration, exhibitions, programs and digital experiences. Follow the center on Twitter: @SmithsonianAPA.

About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment.

About Kundiman

Kundiman is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing generations of writers and readers of Asian American literature. Founded in 2004 as a retreat for poets, Kudiman now presents an annual Poetry Prize, hosts fellows, offers various projects and workshops and has eight regional chapters across the U.S.


# # #



Media Only

Alexandria Fairchild