Part one of this series (Queer Asian American Christianity: Refusal, Resistance, and Resurrection) can be found here.
Artwork: EXPECT RESISTANCE by Raychelle Duazo
When marginalized communities engage in the prophetic and courageous act of truth-telling, we inherently expose, interrupt, and refuse the current order of things. Our testimonies of love, loss, grief, and God often reveal the fallacies and hypocrisies of the institutions and spaces we occupy. Our words, tears, indignation, and imagination hold the possibility to implicate and de-legitimize the current order of things. We reject hegemonic numbness and detachment when we feel, speak, and own our truths in sacred community with one another.
Part one of this series argued that refusal of white heteropatriarchy is intrinsically embedded in the storytelling of queer Asian American Christians, and that our testimonies are sacred, political, and disruptive. But it doesn’t end there, because Resistance emerges when we narrate and refuse.
“Can I be a queer person in a Christian space and just be, without having to explain myself and why I still believe in God? Can I be a Christian in a queer space without feeling attacked for believing in the things that I do? Can I be Filipino in a white space without feeling fetishized or exotified for my identity? The basis of why we fight for the things that we do in social justice is just to be able to be.” -Meesh
My research participant Meesh articulates the yearnings and dismemberment of embodying supposedly contradictory identities. Queer Asian American Christian young adults have been told verbally and nonverbally through policy, education, religion, culture, and mass media that Asian American, queer, and Christian are identifiers that contradict and negate one another. This reality colors the way we survive and navigate Christianity, queerness, ethnicity, family, and daily life.
However, Meesh also imagines the possibilities of our positionality. Holding our identities “at the intersection of contradictions” enables us to empathize and mobilize with oppressed and marginalized communities apart from our own. Our embodied experiences of institutional and cultural exclusion from the church, the State, and our families often lead to invisibility, dismemberment, and spiritual homelessness. But, these experiences also position us to struggle in solidarity with Black, indigenous, and anti-imperialist movements fighting “to just be able to be.”
Although the specific systems we struggle against differ, our pain and liberation are interconnected as we identify the common violent ideologies of capitalism, whiteness, and heteropatriarchy in our diverse hxstories, narratives, and resistances. As Asian American queer people, we can use our intersectional experiences and analysis to activate our communities on issues of anti-Blackness, mass incarceration, and imperialism. Just as we long, fight, and struggle to just be able to be in our neighborhoods, families, churches, and communities, we should also be building coalitions and power with Black, Brown, and Indigenous folx fighting to just be: to be free from terrorism from U.S. law enforcement and military, to be free from fear of deportation and borders, to be free from poisoned water sources….
Creative resistance is not only about refuting and disrupting negative notions of our identities and bodies, but imagining and fighting for flourishing for all people. Given this current Administration’s assumption that queer and trans bodies and Black and brown families are unworthy of protection, care, justice, and love, our resistance against hegemonic norms and state violence is imperative in the construction of queer Asian American Christianity.
“None of us are free until all of us are free.” -Alicia Garza, Black Lives Matter co-founder.