This feature highlights literature & poetics by Queer and/or Transgender Asian creatives. Here you will primarily find contemporary authors, artists, filmmakers, and poets writing from the intersections of LGBTQ+ experience and Asian identities. The number of creatives who hold these identities is vast and just a small section is included here. Explore the tabs to discover fiction, memoirs, poetry, zines, films/shorts, and graphics novels from Queer and Transgender Asian and Pacific Islander (QTAPI) creators. In celebration of AAPI Heritage month and beyond, we hope that you explore this guide during the month of May and year-round!
Video: ‘We’re Asians, Gay & Proud’: The Story Behind The Photo | NBC Asian America (2018)
For an introductory look at Queer & Asian voices in North America, check out the anthology featured below .
If you would like to engage more with this month-long celebration, the Libraries have curated a number of interrelated resources and features to continue and deepen the conversation. You'll find these, below:
Video: Malinda Lo, 2021 Young People’s Lit NatBookAward Winner, reads from Last Night at the Telegraph Club | National Book Foundation (2022).
Video: Samra Habib on the complexities of being Ahmadi Muslim and queer | The Walrus Talks (2019)
Video: Chrysanthemum Tran reads "I Don't Even Like Sports" | Ours Poetica (2022). See more of her work here.
For more zines/small press/self-published content, check out the following links:
Mixed Rice Zines is a small diy press run by artist J Wu, featuring a mixture of voices in celebrating QTBIPOC resilience. Their zines invite queer and trans artists of color to send in writing, photography, comics, poetry, interviews, illustration and more.
From the website: A "new weekly long-format webzine featuring stories and perspectives from yours truly, ~the Queer Asian community~. We invite you into the clubhouse: share your thoughts, discover art, make new friends, and experience a kind of soft love that you could previously only equate with a platter of freshly cut fruit. All Queer, Trans, APISWAD (Asian/ Pacific Islander/ Southwest Asian/ Desi) identifying folx are welcome here—but please, leave your shoes at the door!"
Tropic Zine is a forum for critical engagement with contemporary culture that seeks connections between Hawaiʻi and the tropical diaspora worldwide. Imagine the publication as a dynamic web of relations, simultaneously drawn together and repelled by experiences of place. It prioritizes independent, self-aware, queer, hybrid, engaged, contemporary voices who define culture on their own terms through new editorial projects and collaborations. Tropic Zine produces one print publication a year, which follows no set format or timeline, and publishes digital features on e-Tropic.
Canto Cutie is a juried art and literature zine that publishes the work of Cantonese artists and writers around the world. Founded in 2019 by Katherine Leung, it is edited by Tsz Kam and translated by G. The Cantonese diaspora has roots in Hong Kong, Southern China, Taiwan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam Concentrations of Cantonese speakers can be found in every English-speaking country. Canto Cutie zines are available for purchase and to view for free online.
Dominique Duong is an illustrator and comic artist working in London, UK. Since her career began, her work has been published by SelfMadeHero, Discord Comics and Limit Break Comics, among others. She’s one of Broken Frontier’s Six Small Press Creators to Watch of 2020 and her comic The Dog & The Cat was nominated for an Ignatz Award. She’s worked on editorial and book illustration, theatre set designs, concept art, story-boarding and comics. Explore her webcomics here. Image from The Dog and the Cat, a short Ignatz Award-nominated queer fantasy romance comic based on the myth of the Cat and the Chinese Zodiac.
Sarula Bao is a Chinese American illustrator and graphic novelist based in Brooklyn. She graduated from RISD’s illustration department in 2016 and has since published a graphic novel, Lissa: A Story about Medical Promise, Friendship, and Revolution and currently works as a comics instructor and freelance illustrator. You can explore some of her comics on her website. Left image: "To all the White Girls I've loved before." Right image: from "Thnks fr th mmrs"
Video: MariNaomi, Cartoonist/Community Organizer | XOXO Festival (2018)
Access options to the films and shorts below are either linked or noted in their description. See the following list for additional resources, lists, articles, and film festivals!
Video: "it's a girl!" short film by trâm anh nguyễn. (3 min). "It’s a Girl! is a self-portrait drawn from a Southeast Asian trans male perspective." (2020)
Video: Desi Queer with Rahul Mehta, SJ Sindu & Sreshtha Sen | AAWWTV (2017)
The Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW) is devoted to creating, publishing, developing and disseminating creative writing by Asian Americans, and to providing an alternative literary arts space at the intersection of migration, race, and social justice. Since our founding in 1991, we have been dedicated to the belief that Asian American stories deserve to be told. At a time when migrants, women, people of color, Muslims, and LGBTQ people are specifically targeted, we offer a new countercultural public space in which to imagine a more just future. Explore The Margins digital magazine, The Margins Fellowship, and upcoming events.
Kaya Press is a group of dedicated writers, artists, readers, and lovers of books working together to publish the most challenging, thoughtful, and provocative literature being produced throughout the Asian and Pacific Island diasporas. We believe that people’s lives can be changed by literature that pushes us past expectations and out of our comfort zone. We believe in the contagious potential of creativity combined with the means of production. Founded in 1994, Kaya Press has established itself as the premier publisher of cutting-edge Asian and Pacific Islander diasporic writers in the United States. Our diverse list of titles includes experimental poetry, noir fiction, film memoir, avant-garde art, performance pieces, “lost” novels, and everything in between. Check out Milkteeth Books, the intern-run chapbook imprint of Kaya Press
Kundiman is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing generations of writers and readers of Asian American literature. Kundiman creates a space where Asian Americans can explore, through art, the unique challenges that face the ever changing diaspora. We see the arts as a tool of empowerment, of education and liberation, of addressing proactively the legacy we will leave the future. In the 2000s, poets Sarah Gambito and Joseph O. Legaspi envisioned a space that would facilitate the creation of new work, foster mentoring relationships, and address the challenges facing Asian American writers. Out of those discussions, Kundiman presented its inaugural Workshop Retreat for poets at The University of Virginia in 2004. The Retreat has taken place annually since then, welcoming over 250 fellows and 50 acclaimed faculty members, and is now hosted by Fordham College at Rose Hill.
The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) empowers LGBTQ+ Asians and Pacific Islanders through movement capacity building, policy advocacy, and representation. Founded in 2005 as a federation of dozens of small, volunteer-run groups across the country, NQAPIA is embedded in generations- and centuries-old traditions of resistance, resilience, and community-making among LGBTQ+ Asians and Pacific Islanders.
The Queer Asian Social Club started out as The Gaysian Project. In 2018, I developed a panel for a queer fandom convention to explore Queer Asian Representation in the Media. We are now the Queer Asian Social Club focusing on sharing and celebrating stories of individuals and activists in our community through our weekly web-zine DIS-ORIENT, our instagram page, and our podcast the Queer Asian Podcast Club! While our name is changing, the core of who we remains the same. We are a collective that is focused on using visibility to empower community for queer and trans-APISWAD folks.
Asian Pride Project celebrates the journeys, triumphs and struggles of LGBTQ individuals and our Asian and Pacific Islander (API) families and communities. We seek to capture these stories by using the arts – film, video, photography and the written word – as a medium for social justice and advocacy in the LGBTQ realm.
How Uniting Queer Asians Through Nightlife Became a Global Movement: From Bubble T in New York City to Worship in Sydney, Arthur Tam looks at the nightlife spaces that are uplifting and unifying the queer Asian diaspora all over the world
Meet the Photographer Taking Intimate Portraits of Queer Asian Nightlife in NYC by Leila Ettachfini. "Photographer Aki Kame focuses on lifestyle portraiture by day, but at night they head to parties like NYC's Bubble T to capture their friends and community."
Nancy is a critically-acclaimed podcast featuring queer stories and conversations, and hosted by two best friends, neither of whom are named Nancy. It’s a podcast about how we define ourselves, and the journey it takes to get there. Hosted by Tobin Low and Kathy Tu. Nancy is no longer in production but you can listen to their archive of episodes for free here.
Yellow Glitter with Steven Wakabayashi is a podcast on mindfulness through the eyes & soul of queer Asian perspectives. Every episode, my guests and I share with you what’s on our minds on topics around racial identity, queerness, activism, and life. Come join our conversation. Listen here!
Gaysian by Geoffrey Gaurano is a show that celebrates, educates, and raises awareness about the gay and Asian lived experience through interviews with AAPI or gaysian scholars, activists, and creatives. Subscribe on Spotify for new episodes every other Tuesday.
In recognition of Women's* History Month in March, we have curated a selection of materials and resources from our collections to honor the contributions of transgender women across the arts, from fiction and poetry, to feature films and documentaries, to podcasts. We have also put together a sampling of important transgender studies texts, to help ground an understanding of transgender identity and embodiment.
As an introduction to this feature, we have also created a playlist of music by transwomen and other artists who explore and embody femininity outside of cisnormative conceptions of gender. In this extensive, genre-spanning mix, you'll find a variety of musical styles and sounds, including hip hop, electronic, ambient, heavy metal, and punk, among others. To learn more about this, feel free to explore some of the resources we used to make the playlist:
*Note: Trans women are women. For the purposes of this feature, we have chosen to center feminine expression and embodiment, and so include contributions from artists and scholars who identify as women, whether cisgender or transgender, as well as nonbinary and genderqueer individuals who are femme, femme-of-center, or who identify with or perform femininity in some way. For more on these concepts, check out this article from the ACLU ("Trans Women are Women") or explore some of the resources from this feature on "The Metaphysics of Gender" from the Philosophy Research Guide.
As with many of these national commemorations, one month is never enough to fully honor and celebrate the history and culture of marginalized communities, let alone heal the legacies (and ongoing reality) of harm and systemic oppression they've experienced. We recognize that resisting and rejecting (trans)misogyny and cisheteropatriarchy cannot be manifested simply through resource lists and guides, however important and well-intentioned, and that justice and liberation for women, expansively defined, and all who challenge and live outside of binary gender is the work of generations. We are, nevertheless, committed to doing what we can to work towards a different, more equitable and caring future.
If you'd like to engage more deeply with Women's History Month, units across the Libraries have created a number of interrelated resources and features to provide more holistic coverage of this commemoration. You'll find those, below:
Poetry often touches the core of our complex and intersecting identities as human beings. From the outset of recorded history the identities embodied in poems are often those of marginalized groups. This is certainly true with regard to queer poets. From classical poets like Sappho to luminaries of literary modernism like Hart Crane to contemporary poets like Ocean Vuong, queer experience and desire is an undeniable presence in the poetry and poetics of the global canon. Here below is just a small sampling of poetry from queer poets from a variety of backgrounds and intersectionalities.
Image on right: Cover image for feature. Text reads "Queer Poetry and Poetics, an introduction."
A selection of articles, online compilations, and other resources relevant to queer poetry & poetics
If you'd like to engage more deeply with National Poetry Month, the Indiana University Libraries Arts & Humanities department has put together a number of features and guides to showcase our holdings relevant to this month-long celebration of poetry. You'll find those, below:
Anthologies of poems by queer poets
Works by queer poets exploring queerness, from across time
Selection of texts from our catalog with an emphasis on queerness and poetry
Selection of scholarly articles from journals in our holdings
Episodes of podcasts featuring queer poets
Audio readings of poems by queer poets
Text and video interviews with queer poets
Queer poetry collections, available freely online
Black LGBTQ+ poets write from the intersections of Black and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer identities and experiences. Black LGBTQ+ poets explore issues of gender expression and discrimination, love, sex, sexuality, desire, culture, race, and more through their creative work. Due to compounding oppressions, the history of Black LGBTQ+ poetry and poetics has not been given adequate attention by scholars or mainstream audiences. What follows is a list of poetry books by Black LGBTQ+ poets, anthologies of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) poets who are LGBTQ+, and scholarly articles on the topic, in celebration of Black History Month. We have also included a very brief introduction to African American poetry and recommendations for further reading on that subject.
Video: Poet Danez Smith reading "Genesissy" | Button Poetry (2015).
As with many of these national commemorations, one month is never enough time to fully honor and celebrate the history and culture of marginalized communities, let alone heal the legacies (and ongoing reality) of harm they've experienced. We recognize that there is much more to be done, that racism and anti-blackness can't be eliminated simply through the creation of resource guides, and that the work of realizing justice won't soon be over. But nevertheless, we keep trying, contributing how we can and building upon the efforts of those who came before us, and we continue to learn from and with one another.
If you'd like to engage more deeply with Black History Month, the Indiana University Libraries Arts & Humanities department has created a number of interrelated resources and features to provide more holistic coverage of this remembering. You'll find those, below:
And for all things Black culture, you can never go wrong with the resources, services, and collections of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Library .
African American poetry predates the written word and has its roots in a rich oral tradition. shares sonic qualities with Black musical forms like gospel, jazz, blues, hip-hop, and rap, and includes a rich array of poetic sound devices: alliteration, rhyme, anaphora (the repetition of lines or fragments), to name a few. Black Poetry can be about any theme or subject, but the Black experience is often at the center of Black Poetry, which is informed by the distinctiveness of Black culture. Black Poets often unpack and critiques the systemic oppressions and individual discriminations that they, as Black Americans, have endured, like slavery, segregation, and police brutality. Notable writers and movements in Black Poetry are described in the Power of Poetry series of blog posts from the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Critics and supporters of the distinction between African American and American literature abound. The positions of each side are outlined in this wikipedia article on the subject.
This page provides suggested resources (books, video & film, articles & databases) relevant to Two-Spirit Identity and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA) Indigenous Identity.
The term Two-Spirit (2S, 2Spirit, Two Spirit, Twospirited) was coined in 1990 at the Indigenous lesbian and gay international gathering in Winnipeg. The term is a pan-Indian, umbrella term used by a number of Indigenous Native Americans to describe Native Peoples who fulfill traditional third-gender or variant-gender roles in their communities and cultures. The term is generally accepted but faces controversy from critics who consider it as reinforcing western notions of binary gender or attempting to erase terms that already exist in traditional communities for gender-variant members.
Acceptance, treatment, status, and rights of LGBTQIA Indigenous peoples and Two-Spirit individuals have varied historically. Contemporary understandings of Two-Spirit identity and what it means to be Indigenous and LGBTQIA vary greatly from tribe to tribe. We hope the resources collected in these pages will help readers gain a nuanced understanding of Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA Indigenous Identity.
This mix features two-spirit and other Indigenous LGBTQIA and nonbinary/transgender artists from across Turtle Island, as well as other parts of the world. A work in progress, we welcome suggestions for artists from these groups for inclusion.
Note: To enjoy the playlist in full, click on the white Spotify icon in the upper-right corner of the playlist, and press the "like" (♡) button in the application to save.
To learn more about the artists and communities represented in this playlist, check out some of the resources we consulted:
If you'd like to learn more about this month-long celebration of Indigenous communities and identity, we've created a guide with list of resources, as well as a playlist featuring Indigenous musicians, on the Media Studies Research Guide. There is also an overview of Indigenous Philosophy on the Philosophy Research Guide.
For more information about the Indigenous communities with ongoing and traditional ties to this land, and how to support Indigenous groups and movements, take a look at our Land Acknowledgment and Local Indigenous Resources guide.
Video: Three indigenous community leaders discuss their work and how it benefits the communities in which they live. They focus on how their identity as Two Spirits has influenced their activism, art, scholarly work, and vision | SAMHSA (2014)
Video: Author and Indigenous elder Ma-Nee Chacaby talks about Two Spirit identities | Out Saskatoon (2018)
Hames-García, M. (2013). What's After Queer Theory? Queer Ethnic and Indigenous Studies. Feminist Studies 39(2), 384-404.
Robinson, M. (2020). Two-Spirit Identity in a Time of Gender Fluidity. Journal of Homosexuality, 67(12), 1675–1690.
Robinson, M. (2017). Two-Spirit and Bisexual People: Different Umbrella, Same Rain. Journal of Bisexuality, 17(1), 7–29.
Morgensen, S. L. (2011). Unsettling Queer Politics: What Can Non-Natives Learn from Two-Spirit Organizing? In Q.-L. Driskill, C. Finley, B. J. Gilley, & S. L. Morgensen (Eds.), Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature, 132–152.
Lang, S. (2016). Native American men-women, lesbians, two-spirits: Contemporary and historical perspectives. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 20(3/4), 299–323.
Kongerslev, M. (2018). Dance to the Two-Spirit. Mythologizations of the Queer Native. Kvinder, Køn & Forskning, 27(4).
Greensmith, C., & Giwa, S. (2013). Challenging Settler Colonialism in Contemporary Queer Politics: Settler Homonationalism, Pride Toronto, and Two-Spirit Subjectivities. American Indian Culture & Research Journal, 37(2), 129–148.
*while there is some overlap and commonalities in understandings of gender and sexuality across groups, when doing research relevant to Indigenous identities, it is always best practice to search using the names of individual tribes, nations, and communities when possible
POC (people of color)
BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color)
Two-spirit (sometimes "two spirit", "two spirited" or "two-spirited")
In honor of Women's Equality Day, which commemorates the passage, ratification, and later certification of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920 (and this year is also a celebration of the 100th anniversary thereof), we present a series of playlists honoring the contributions of women, femmes, and trans+nonbinary folks in music across genres (many of which have traditionally excluded or undervalued their work).
We recognize, additionally, that, despite the work of many women of color suffragettes (read more here), the 19th Amendment only guaranteed the right to vote for some (read: white) women; BIPOC women had to wait many years before suffrage was accorded to them, and even then (even today) many people, including BIPOC, remain disenfranchised.
You can read more about the work of Indiana University historians, and the history of suffrage in Indiana, here.
Scroll through to see the playlists we've created.
Image: Two individuals holding signs, one reading "vote baby vote," the other "voting is people power." Image from Getty Images, courtesy of Gabriel Hackett.
Retrospective of folk artists from the 60s & 70s. From chart topping artists like Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez to lesser known artists like Linda Perhacs and Elizabeth Cotten, explore the sound of female artists who shaped the course of folk, rock, and pop music into the 21st century.
Retrospective of punk acts, from its inception through recent times. Explore the sounds of femme artists in punk and the ways they evolved the genre.
Retrospective of artists (pop, rock, folk, etc.) from the 80s & 90s (and even a few from the early 00s). Explore the ways femme artists influenced the transitional decades from the 20th to 21st centuries.
Retrospective of women and femmes in hip hop, from the 80s to today. Explore how femme artists have shaped the sound of hip hop across its evolution.
The new ladies of the canyon; folk and indie artists from the early 00s to today. Explore the influence of "ladies of the canyon" as it plays out in the next generation's music.
September 23rd is a day designated for recognizing and celebrating bisexual people, their history, and their community. Bisexuality is the quality or characteristic of being sexually and/or romantically attracted to people of one’s own gender as well as another gender or genders. This playlist brings together songs by, about, and for bisexual people in honor of the B in LGBTQ+! From artists suspected of being bisexual or bicurious (Britney Spears, Harry Styles), to out & proud bisexuals (Janelle Monae, Frank Ocean) this playlist encompasses a variety of genres (punk, pop, indie, r&b) through time. From Billie Holliday to Demi Lovato, bisexuals have always existed, despite attempts to erase their queerness. Enjoy this playlist on Bisexual Awareness Day (September 23rd) or any time you want to celebrate bi pride!
Click through the tabs to see some of the media we've highlighted to celebrate bisexual identity and experience.