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‘We’re Asians, Gay and Proud’: An Interview with Daniel C. Tsang

14 September 2022

Daniel C. Tsang (Figure 1) is Distinguished Librarian Emeritus at the University of California, Irvine. He is a renowned Asian American queer activist. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Tsang received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Redlands, and two master’s degrees from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He worked for two years as a research librarian at Temple University’s Contemporary Culture Collection and for thirty years as a bibliographer and data librarian at University of California, Irvine. He was also a two-time Fulbright Research Scholar, in Hanoi and Hong Kong respectively. An activist in gay liberation, academic labour, and anti-surveillance movements, he helped organize the Asian contingent at the first Lesbian and Gay March in Washington in 1979, wrote for alternative, gay, and Asian press, and hosted Subversity Show on KUCI. In 1993, he founded the Alliance Working for Asian Rights & Empowerment in Orange County, California. He is an advocate for preserving social movement artifacts and records. His writings and activism span Asian American, anti-surveillance, and sexual liberation causes. A native Hongkonger, he travels regularly between Hong Kong and California.

In this video interview with Dr Hongwei Bao from Queer Lens, Tsang reflects on his fifty years of Asian American and queer activism, including his 1975 ‘Gay Awareness’ article (often known as ‘first gay Asian manifesto’) (Figure 2 and 3); the Gay Insurgent magazine he edited, whose 1980 front cover features the Asian American contingent at the first Lesbian and Gay March on Washington DC in 1979 (Figure 4); the Subversity radio show he hosted at UC Irvine; and the second Chinese Tongzhi Conference he attended in Hong Kong in 1998 (Figure 5).

Figure 1. Daniel Tsang in front of a display of Gay Insurgent at the core exhibit area of the Museum of

Chinese in America, March 2016.  Photo credit: H. Yueh.

Figure 2. The ‘Gay Awareness’ article (Part 1) written by Daniel Tsang published in Bridge: Asian American Perspectives in February 1975.

Figure 3. The ‘Gay Awareness’ article (Part 2)

Figure 4. Gay Insurgent No. 6 magazine cover, 1980. Tsang is the one with a moustache.

Figure 5. This 441-page Chinese tongzhi reader was published by Worldson Books in Hong Kong in 1999.


Further readings:

Daniel Tsang’s 1975 article ‘Slicing Silence: Asian Progressives Come Out’. This article is often known as ‘first gay Asian manifesto’.


Daniel Tsang’s interview with filmmaker Evans Chan about Love and Death in Montmartre


Daniel Tsang’s interview with Vietnamese American filmmaker Hieu Tran


Daniel Tsang’s interview with Chinese queer filmmaker Fan Popo


Daniel Tsang’s interview with filmmakers Miao Wang and Quentin Lee


Daniel Tsang’s online talk on his fifty years of activism:


Other online information about Daniel Tsang