WHAT I KNOW NOW: Writer, Director, and Activist Curtis Chin
Curits Chin is a writer, producer, director, and activist. His memoir about growing up Asian American and coming out in his working-class immigrant community, titled“Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant,” will be published in the Fall of 2023. His films have been screened at The White House, Lincoln Center, and in countries around the world. Chin has served as a Director of Outreach for the Democratic National Committee, on the Asian American Leadership Committee for Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign, and is the co-founder of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.
Name: Curtis Chin
Where you live now: Los Angeles
What you wanted to be when you were a teenager: I had no idea. Maybe something in politics.
What you do now: I make documentaries and write books.
What you’re most proud of: Being happy.
3 words that describe your teenage self: Ambitious, organized, Republican
3 words that describe you now: Ambitious, organized, Democrat
What you would tell your teenage self: I grew up in the 80s in Detroit. Things were much different back then. There was no guarantee that things would “get better” for gay people. Not only were the police still harassing the community, politicians were attacking our community and comparing us to alcoholics and pedophiles, but we were still in the early days of the AIDS crisis. The reports from cities like New York and San Francisco were not good. I really thought I would be dead by the age of 30. Looking back, I might have told myself to have less fear and more hope.
What you wish you knew about coming out that you know now: Coming out back then was really scary. Even though my family never said anything homophobic or anti-gay, I still had a fear that they wouldn’t accept me. That worst-case scenerio crippled me. I wish I knew how accepting my whole family would be. It doesn’t always turn out well for everyone, but I am lucky that it did in my case.
What you love most about being a part of the LGBTQ+ community: Being part of the LGBTQ community makes me feel comfortable. It reduces anxiety knowing that there are people who love and accept you for who you are.
Person you most admire: Gosh, too many people to answer this one.
If you could change one thing about the world, you would: More kindness.
What inspires you now: Young voters.