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Way back in 2003, Tim and I put our heads together to try to figure out how we could not only talk about the issue of sexual racism but create change. His idea was the simple banner ad. My idea was more of a direct response: try to make it easier for people to respond directly to offensive ads…

It became clear that Tim had the better idea! Still, it was worth a try. Here’s the text from the original posting:

Show someone you care! Well, show someone that you’ve noticed their ad is worded (perhaps unintentionally) in way that is unnecessarily hurtful. We’ve found that webmasters and companies don’t want to take up this issue, so it’s really up to us. Back to the grassroots. On this page, you’ll find a few model letters you can use. You can just cut and paste it into a message from you.

The aim of this page is to make it easy for gay asian guys and our friends to try to stop internet racism.

Hey, this is grassroots activism. Spread the word. Let’s get regular users of gay meeting sites on the internet to respond to every ad that we see that is racist and hurtful and create a culture that is caring and supportive (and where we can all get shags easier).

This ain’t only about asians. I’m aiming to have form letters up for black guys, latino guys, positive guys – you request it (and maybe supply me with the text?) and I’ll put it up.

INSTRUCTIONS: For now, just cut and paste over the letter you want to send, and send away.

At the moment, you’re going to have to send this from your own address. I know that’s hard – to stand up to racism – I get tired and sick of it myself – but I encourage you to do it – send it from your account with your real name. What are they going to do anyways?

Some of the places where you’ll find these ads: gaydar.com.au, gay.com, aol.com – you can tell me other places.

Let’s get started!

To start off with: my letter to you. You can alter it to send to other friends who will join our campaign!

Hi Friend,

I was talking with friends about the issue of racism on the internet – and in particular racist ads on gaydar and other services that say: no Asians or no GAMs.

I decided that we should do something about it! No one else is going to do it for us, so if we want the situation to change, I think we have to start acting on it. I think that most of the guys who do these ads don’t know how racist or hurtful they are being, so a gentle but firm e-mail will help.

I’ve drafted a few different letters and I encourage you to do the following:

1. Change the letter if you’d like, so that it feels like something that you could have written yourself.

2. Find a way so that you can easily forward it when you want to. If you use outlook express, you could keep a copy in your “draft” in-box. Or you could send the message to yourself, so that you can later “forward” it to others. Or just bookmark this page and cut and paste letters from there.

3. Whenever you come across an ad that says “No GAMs” or “No Asians”, send them the e-mail. You don’t have to be Asian to do this – some of my white friends have been helping to educate guys on the net, and questioning their racism. By the way, we’ve already gotten a number of guys to change their ads. So this works!

Write to me if you have any comments! And please forward on this e-mail to all of your friends who you think would support this campaign. Let’s go for it. Let’s change the world.

Kind of an angry response

Hi

Saw your ad on gaydar when I was surfing the net tonight.

Lots of gay asian guys like me use this site on a regular basis. We read messages like:

  • I am not into gams, fems, fats or pensioners.
  • No gams
  • Not into gams, pretentious guys, fakers
  • No asians, sorry.

I’m a pretty confident guy but ads like yours still hurt. I wonder how they affect young guys coming into out for the first time and surfing the net. Some young 18 year old in Taiwan or New Jersey who finds out that people consider his race equivalent to something like bad breath.

It IS perfectly acceptable for people to have different tastes but putting a sexual preference based on race in a public space contributes to racism in the gay community, racism which affects all of us – it hurts Asian guys and white guys too.

Maybe consider putting what you’re interested in, rather than what you’re not interested in, i.e. “looking for masculine guys” rather than “no femmes”.

But if someone answers your ad that you’re not interested in, just say “sorry, you’re not my type” or “sorry, I’m not interested”. Or just ignore the message. Treat Asian guys like you would treat white guys that you’re not attracted to.

You’re not attracted to Asian guys. Fine. Don’t remind us everyone we surf the web that people won’t even look at us because of our race, or equate us with “fems” or some other supposedly undesirable characteristic just because of our race.

Thanks

Short and polite:

Hi

On the streets, in the workplace, in the locker room, in homes, there are norms created of what is acceptable and not acceptable to say. If people around you make faggot jokes and derogatory comments about gay men and lesbians, it encourages other people to do the same thing. Do we want to hear or see or read the phrase “no faggots” or even “no gays”?

So what’s the difference with writing “No Asians” or “No GAMs” in a personal ad profile. There are so many ads that include this phrase that men think it’s OK, and they forget how hurtful it is.

I might not agree with you if that’s what you think, but if you don’t write it in your profile, at least I don’t have to read it, and it doesn’t encourage other men to write the same thing.

What we say makes it OK for others to say the same thing.

I’d politely request that you make the small change on your ad to reflect the above. You can always ignore e-mails from men who you’re not interested in!

Thanks

A Non-Asian supporter

Hi

I noticed your ad says you’re not interested in Asians.

I’m not Asian myself but I’m hoping to convince you to alter your ad slightly.

I’m not saying you should or have to sleep with or communicate with Asian guys. It’s just that stating your prejudice in a public way is pretty hurtful.

If someone who you’re not interested in sends you an e-mail, why not either ignore them, or be polite, no matter what their race?

How about if you saw on a regular basis (like Asian guys do when looking at gay personal ads on the internet) messages like “no gays” or “no homosexuals”? How about if you’re a 17 year old kid coming out and you find out that guys won’t even look at you because of your race, no matter if you’re tall or short, whether you were born in Asia or North America, whether you’re a bodybuilder or a swimmer? Do you want to be the one to teach him that lesson?

Or, whether you mean it or not, to slap the face of every gay asian guy who reads your ad?

If you’re concerned about physical appearance, ask for a photo.

Changing a few words in your ad isn’t a difficult thing but it would make gay internet sites a lot more friendly

Thanks

Short and pointed:

Is it really so hard?

  • To request photos of people responding to your ads
  • To politely respond to an ad saying you’re not interested
  • To ignore someone you’re not interested in

RATHER THAN

Stating publicly that you don’t want to receive e-mails from someone because of their race

Please change your ad. It may be “being honest” but it’s hurtful and unnecessary.

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