Paul Tran

Greenwich Village History Blog

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Digital Archive

Repealed Asian exclusion acts, anti-colonial freedom movements, and imperatives for radical queer spaces completely reimagined the order of New York City during the twentieth century. Founded in 1990, the Gay Asian and Pacific Islander Men of New York (GAPIMNY) derived from networks dedicated to dismantling institutional structures and values that “deny us our fullness,” as well as desires to create safe spaces for gay Asian/Pacific/American (A/P/A) men to socialize and organize. For the past twenty-five years, GAPIMNY has collaborated with local and transnational organizations to empower queer and transgender A/P/A through social, educational, peer-support, cultural, and political activities.

The GAPIMNY Records at the Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives celebrates the ongoing liberation struggle for queer and trans A/P/A. The collection contains video footage, printed materials, and intimate artifacts documenting the organization’s changing vision and contributions from 1990-2015. My digital archive will not only make these works available to the public. It'll incorporate multimedia and intergenerational dialogues reflecting on the intersectional programs pioneered by GAPIMNY’s entirely volunteer membership through the LGBT Center in Greenwich Village. It'll offer a layered investigation into issues of race, gender, sexuality, public health, immigration, and citizenship facing GAPIMNY and its constituents across NYC—and in the Village, particularly—over the past quarter century.

The digital archive comes out of my current curatorial collaboration with GAPIMNY, the Tamiment Museum, and the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU. Called "Nothing Lost in Translation: 25 Years of Gay Asian and Pacific Islander Men of New York," the physical exhibition will be on display starting October 8, 2016.

Web Exhibit

My exhibit will investigate GAPIMNY to understand the history of queer Asian Americans in Greenwich Village during the twentieth century. I’m at once interested in the anti-imperial ideologies that led to the organization’s founding in 1990 and the strategies that secured its survival over the past twenty-five years as other similar organizations terminated. I will examine the political, social, educational, and peer-support alternatives GAPIMNY provided queer Asian Americans from 1990-2015, comparing them against organizations working in collaboration or opposition to its mission. Most importantly, I will chart the impact GAPIMNY has had on its individual members and the social landscape of Greenwich Village after the Cold War.

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