Just in case you didn’t know, this month is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month or AAPIHM for short. AAPIHM is a month to celebrate the culture, traditions, challenges and accomplishments of Asian Americans everywhere. With 22.2 Million Asians and 1.6 Million Pacific Islanders living in America it is kind of a big deal!
May 17th marks an important milestone for the Asian community. Taiwan became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in Asia. When Tsai Ing-wen was running for president in 2016, marriage equality was the center of her campaign. Taiwan was already known as the progressive forerunner on many issues - gender equality, animal rights, just to name a few; but she had a more ambitious goal. She believed in same-sex marriage and wanted to demonstrate how progressive values can take root in an East Asian society. After all, Taipei is home to East Asia's largest gay pride parade – an event that regularly draws tens of thousands of participants.
Where am I from? Seems like a simple answer for most, but it is a little more complicated for me. I am half Thai and half Filipino, born in Ventura, CA but moved to Asia when I was six. So, I am Asian American, but spent my entire childhood living in foreign countries, attending International schools and moving all over the place. I can’t speak any single language fluently but know words in so many. I finally repatriated back to the United States once I graduated high school which was definitely a challenge.
My favorite Peruvian dish (lomo saltado, a stir-fried dish of beef, french fries, onion, and peppers) uses soy sauce for its flavor base. A full 5% of the Peruvian population is Asian. And, according to one source, as many 5 million Peruvians have some Chinese ancestry, which equates to 20% of the country's total population. Peru isn't unique. All of the Latin American countries have sizeable Asian populations. Brazil has the largest asian population of any Latin American country. It has a large Chinese enclave, a quarter million strong. It has an even larger Japanese population of 1.7 million. Today, there are more than four million Asian Latin Americans, composing nearly 1% of Latin America's total population.