Double Invisibility: A Case Study on Identity Formation and Experiences of Gay Asian-American Christian Men Open Access

Kusumonegoro, Christopher (Spring 2022)

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Gay Asian-American Christian men exist as double minorities—a sexual minority in a heteronormative society and a racial and ethnic minority in White America—and for that reason undergo double invisibility in society. To expand on the limited research available about the intersection of sexuality, Asian identity, and Christian faith presented by Kau and Lam, I carried out a qualitative explorative case study focused on 10 in-depth interviews with gay Asian-American men affiliated with Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles (EBCLA). This research explores how gay Asian-American Christian men form and organize their identities and whether their experiences are consistent with the literature.

Among the participants I interviewed, the formation of Asian, Christian, and gay identities ranged from weak to strong alignment with current identity models as presented in a typology proposed by Kau. My interviewees aligned more closely with what Kau calls the dual identity and complex identity models, capturing the formation and organization process of multiple identities. Interviewees also demonstrated evidence of multiple minority stress, challenging experiences, and rewarding experiences relatively consistent with themes presented in Lam’s research. Key findings demonstrate that the stress of being Christian in the LGBT community was significantly lower in this group than past research suggests, which could be attributed to a self-selection bias in my small sample of choosing more gay friends that are already Christian. The interviewees also exhibited lower signs of internalized racism than expected, which could be the result of the majority of participants being raised in diverse communities where being Asian was not a minority experience. Finally, participants exhibited greater signs of empathy and belonging for being gay Asian-American Christian, an empathy likely enhanced by finding EBCLA, a church that provides a space for all three identities to form community. 

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction - 1

Chapter 2: Background & Literature Review - 3

Chapter 3: Methodology - 22

Chapter 4: Results and Findings - 25

Chapter 5: Discussion - 55

6: References - 62

7: Appendices - 68

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