(Or Why I Made This Film . . . )
While this project is important and timely, it is also a deeply personal one. As a first generation Chinese American immigrant from Hong Kong whose family emigrated in 1964, my family was one of the earliest Chinese families to be reunited in America after eight decades of Asian Exclusion laws and extended immigrant national quotas, that have for generations denied the Chinese and other Asians the rights of citizenship and kept Asian husbands and wives and families apart. Even though I am a first generation immigrant, my family has been in this country for five generations, each generation a first generation unable to bring their wives and families with them, who lived separate lives for decades and sometimes even entire lifetimes, thousands of miles apart. In 1964, when my family emigrated, my father was 37 years old, married with 6 children, when he finally met his father for the first time in New York.
As a Chinese American lesbian in a committed relationship for over 19 years, we have experienced the elation of marriage on the state level only to have it be abruptly taken away and challenged. It is only now that federal recognition of our relationship is potentially within our sights. As we have struggled to start a family for over 10 years, we realize even today there is no Asian country that recognizes gay marriages or the rights of gays to adopt children. As an Asian American immigrant, whose families are often sponsored by Christian and missionary organizations and dependent on these groups for networks of social welfare and community in the host society, I have siblings who are Mormons, Fundamentalist Baptists, and Catholics. While many of us are individually out to our respective families, what I realize more often than not, is that our Asian American families do not have the support or the resources to be out to the larger ethnic and religious communities in which they live, work and socialize.
As an Asian American and a gay person in this country, I realize more often than not, we do not have access to our Asian history, or our Asian American history or our gay history let alone our Asian American Gay history. I hope this project is but one step towards creating better understanding in all our communities.
~ Anna Eng