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Asian-American gays face more stresses

July 28, 2009 at 12:13 AM   |   Comments

BOSTON, July 28 (UPI) -- Asian-American homosexuals often face unyielding family and cultural social stresses that affect their ethnic and sexual identities, U.S. researchers said.

Hyeouk Chris Hahm of the Boston University School of Social Work said the process of homosexual identify formation among Asian and Pacific Islanders youth is affected by central societal stresses including the role of family life, personal sacrifice for family tranquility and generational clashes, as well as external factors such as racism, sexism and acculturation.

The study, published in the Journal of LGBT Youth, found that both young men and women mask homosexual behaviors and avoid alienating their family and parents' communities. In their relationships with others, they often have to decide which identity will take precedence -- an ethnic or sexual identity.

"In the Western gay and lesbian community, 'coming out,' is final revelation that you are homosexual while for Asian and Pacific Islanders in America of Korean descent, there is 'coming home,' where you want to integrate culturally and be both an American and Korean," Hahm said in a statement. "This is not staying closeted but rather alluding to your sexuality to a family member, who may not challenge it, as long as the status quo within the family is maintained."

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