Originally named Meandering Through the Not Yet Found, to speak to the difficulty in locating the histories and experiences of those who identified as queer, trans, and gender non-conforming (gnc) Asians in North America, GRAIN eventually emerged as the name for this oral history project to reflect our communities' diversity, in addition to our roots. This name came from a lively discussion between a group of young(er) queer Asians in North America after thinking about what we hope the project can represent.
Growing up queer and Asian has sometimes meant that finding role models, representations, and histories of queer Asians difficult, particularly those who identify as women, trans, and gnc. Mainstream media and even academic articles have often depicted queer, trans, and gnc folx of color as sidekicks (if seen at all) or problems to be solved; hence, this webspace began as an oral history project to document the rich and non-monolithic lives of queer, trans, and gnc Asians in North America. Understanding that the goal is not to tell a linear story of what queer, trans, and gnc Asian history is in North America allows for this space to embrace a more radical upholding of the differently complex lives as we navigate various systems and structures. Rather than an attempt at smoothing out a history, this approach, I hope, will also allow us to think about and hold onto the gaps and the life stories that cannot be told while appreciating those that are shared.
As this is the first version of Grain, I would like to invite interested folx to create an account to join the community. I am careful with the stories that have been shared because of the destructive ways marginalized lives have been commodified, extracted, and disciplined. As such, I would like for folx who are invested in caring for the stories in similar ways to think together with the folx in this project on methods of sharing that will uphold the integrity of our narrators.
This project may have began as an individual quest in looking for a longer history but has come to fruition because of the folx who came through, from the oral history narrators who has carefully shared their stories to the young folx who helped in thinking about the digital presentations of this project. Thank you all for your time and effort!