Asian Culture Day: Map for Health presents

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”Julia Moss” align=”alignleft” width=”219″][/media-credit]

Sophomore Terry Althier participates in an activity with Map for Health members Narong Sokhom and Hung Nguyen.

by Connor Vasu

 Map for Health, an organization that helps Asian LGBTQ youth, presented Wednesday F-block in the little theatre as a part of Asian Culture Day.

 According to Map for Health member Hung Nguyen, “Map for Health works to build fairness and equality among LGBTQ students and the Asian community.”

 Nguyen began the presentation with an activity. Map for Health member Narong Sokhom and Nguyen held up a word and asked the audience to which gender it related.

 According to Sokhom, “This activity can show how words can be gendered. People should not be tied down to these stereotypes and instead be who they are.”

 Then, Nguyen and Sokhom asked the audience questions. For example, many people in the room stood when asked if they had a family member or close friend who identified as LGBTQ. Almost everyone in the room stood when asked if they had a person they could talk to about sex.

 According to Nguyen, “The activity was supposed to help you think more of gender and sexuality.” Nguyen also asked audience members to “compare the activity to messages you hear from home, family and media.”

Sokhom said, “Family values usually put pressure on LGBTQ youth, even if by accident.”

 Nguyen and Sokhom then read a story about Trung Wren, a Vietnamese-American teenager whose parents had found out he was gay. Wren’s parents, unlike many Asian-American parents, were supporting of his sexual preference.

 Sokhom said, “In Asia, the atmosphere is very restrictive towards gay people. You cannot talk about your sexuality like you can here in the United States.”

 This message of inclusion is spread through Tuesday night drop-ins for Asian LGBTQ students in Map for Health’s Boston office. Every other Friday there are workshops focusing on “LGBTQ and Asian identity, sexual health and community building,” according to a handout.