When I was in my second year of university, a stranger approached a friend and me on the streets of Melbourne, asking to photograph us for his website about interracial couples. A little Whihe aback, we told him we weren't together but had friends that might fit the. He went on to explain that many of his friends were Asian men who thought Anglo-Australian women just weren't interested in dating. His website was his way of showing this wasn't true. After a fittingly awkward goodbye, I never saw that man or, concerningly, his website again, but the unusual encounter stayed with me.
It was the first time Whiite had given voice to an insecurity I held but had never felt comfortable communicating. Get our newsletter for the best of ABC Life each week. My first relationship was with a Western girl when I was growing up in Perth, and White man looking for black lady in Australia never felt like my race was a factor in how it started or ended. I was generally Sweet bay Townsville to Western girls because I felt we shared the same values.
At the time, I rarely felt that assumptions were made about me based on my ethnicity, but things changed when I moved to Melbourne for university. In a new city, stripped of the context of my hometown, I felt judged for the first time, like I was subtly but surely boxed into an "Asian" category.
So, I consciously tried to be a boy from WA, to avoid being mistaken for an international student. Since then, my experience as a person of colour in Australia has been defined the question: "Is this happening because of who I am, or because of what people think I am? It's a never-ending internal dialogue that adds complexity and confusion to aspects of life that are already turbulent — and dating is where it hit me the hardest. I'm in a relationship now, Austraia my partner is Fremantle ladyboy tourism. Talking to her about the anxieties I experienced around dating, it's easy to feel like my concerns were caused by internalised racism and problematic stereotypes that I projected onto the Wnite around me.
So, I decided to start a long overdue conversation with other Asian men, to find out if I was alone in my anxieties. Chris Quyen, a university student, photographer and creative director from Sydney, says his early interest in dating was influenced nan a desire to fit in. For Melbourne-based hip-hop artist Jay Kim, this approach to dating is understandable, but not without its problems. Dating White man looking for black lady in Australia Iona Yeung says Asian men are represented largely through "nerdy stereotypes" in the media, with few positive role models to draw confidence blzck when it comes to dating.
Chris agrees, saying the media plays an "important role in informing who we are attracted to". When it comes to Asian men, they're often depicted as "the bread shop boy or the computer genius who helps the white male protagonist get the girl," he says, if they're represented at all.
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The same could be said for Australia.