Blasian March Leads Pride Rally in Brooklyn
Organizers foster solidarity during Pride month
BY TAT BELLAMY-WALKER
The Blasian March kicked off a Pride
march and rally in Brooklyn on June
5 to bring solidarity to Black and
Asian LGBTQ communities.
Folks chanted “Justice for Asians! Justice for
Black people” as they marched from Cadman
Plaza into the streets to celebrate Blasian culture
and bring attention to the violence facing
LGBTQ individuals who are Black and Asian.
The event’s organizer, Rohan Zhou-Lee, a
Black-Asian LGBTQ person, told Gay City News
they created the event because Black and Asian
queer communities are often erased from larger
“It was an aspect of the last wave of the Black
Lives Matter movement that I felt needed more
attention,” said Zhou-Lee, who uses the pronouns
“they,” “them,” “Siya,” and “ .” “We’re always
in the back, we always have to wait for
the bigger, predominantly white and sometimes
predominately white and straight fl oats to go by
fi rst — and that’s historically frustrating when
it really was Black, Brown and Asian LGBT
people who were doing this work fi rst.”
Some of the event’s speakers included Jessica
Tsui of Youth for Justice; Iman Le Caire,
an Egyptian trans woman and founder of Trans
Asylias, an organization for trans asylum seekers;
and other LGBTQ advocacy groups. During
the march, protesters condemned anti-trans
violence and discrimination against Asian communities
while also urging for alternative approaches
to policing. These demands come weeks
after President Joe Biden signed the COVID-19
Hate Crimes Act despite concerns from advocates
about the potential drawbacks of bringing
more police into communities of color.
The rally also served as a platform for parents
nurturing their child’s cultural pride.
Michelle Lin-Luse, a queer Taiwanese-American
mother, and her wife brought their threeyear
old daughter, who is of Blasian descent.
They felt that the demonstration could help
their daughter feel connected to her heritage.
“We were excited that somebody created this
space that was queer-oriented, BIPOC-oriented,
and especially Black and Asian-oriented — it
hits all the marks for us,” she said. “We are trying
to foster a strong sense of self-identity for our
child. She’s just starting to come into the age of
recognizing skin color and gender — this was
the perfect space for us to be in community.”
The march coincided with a rise in anti-Asian
hate crimes across the nation. Lin-Luse said
the Atlanta spa shootings that killed six Asian
women hit incredibly close to home because she
grew up in the area near the attack.
Protesters returned to the streets to march for Black, Asian, and Blasian communities.
Organizers of the Blasian March kicked off their fi rst Pride rally on June 5.
“It was my worst fears realized,” she said.
“In New York, there has been a lot of incidences
of Asian elders being attacked — everyone
thinks New York City is an area of progressive
thought, but it is still a place where there is violence
Other attendees pointed to the march’s focus
on racial diversity. Riha Stone, a mixed, Asian
femme of Chinese descent, pointed to a lack of
spaces for Black and Asian people to build community.
“I believe in the intersectionality of the Black
Lives Matter movement and the Stop Asian Hate
movement,” they said. “This event is a fusion of
those two backgrounds coming together to fi ght
against one particular enemy and struggle.”
Last October, the Blasian March hosted their
fi rst protest at Cadman Plaza to mark the sixth
anniversary of the death of Jennifer Laude, a
trans Filipina woman who was murdered by US
Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton.
This year’s Pride rally, meanwhile, drew a
crowd yet again — and served an important
purpose for those like Lin-Luse and her family.
“We know as our daughter gets older she’s
already going to be confronted with having two
moms, being a person of color, and being a girl,”
Lin-Luse said. “We are trying to equip her with a
solid foundation about who she is, who her family
is, so that she can meet the world with it.”
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