I was born in 1964, the last year of the baby boomer, in Taipei, Taiwan. I think I knew I was gay since junior high school, but I never came out. And in college, yes, I got some muscle magazines imported from the U.S. And I happened to watch some of the gay porn videos when I was in Taiwan. Mostly you could see the guys were well built. So I thought, Okay, that’s what people like, so I should do it. And then I actually started doing the weight training since I was a first-year freshman in college. 

After I finished undergraduate and the military service for two years, I applied for graduate school and I came to Southern California, University of Southern California, for a two-year master’s degree. And the major reason why I came to the U.S. is because I knew I could be freely gay. If I stayed there I would have to get married and have a kid. I didn’t really have any gay friends or Asian gay friends, so I was just going by meeting people through, at that time, the newspaper or the phone thing. They were all Caucasian, and mostly were older than I was by choice. 

In engineering school it was like 99% “black hair”—you know they were either Chinese, Korean, Japanese, or Indian. So you could go around without speaking English at all. But I forced myself not to watch Taiwanese news, newspapers, anything, just trying to avoid any chance I could speak Mandarin. And after that I started working in Ventura County and in Orange County until 1996. And then I moved to the Bay Area. 

I know at that time you could see the ads saying, you know, “no fat, no femme, no Asian.” Yeah, I did see that and then I did see people say, “Oh, I like Asian guys because they have smaller cock” or whatever. I just laughed at this. It didn’t really get to me. And in terms of questioning me about, you know, masculinity, I didn’t really have that problem. 

And also look-wise, a lot of people had mistaken me as a mix, which ironically initially I’d think was an insult. I’d almost want to punch the guy, because you know in Chinese when you say you’re mixed, zá zhǒng (雜種), that is not a good word. But since more people were saying that, I kind of got used to it. So they never really recognized me as fully 100% Asian. Even when I said I’m purebred Chinese, made in Taiwan. 

Now I’m a U.S. citizen, Taiwanese American, with both citizenship. I’ve been here thirty-something years. But I think the last 10 years, you know, at the gym I got straight guys like, “Brah, you do very well. How you do this, how you do that?” so that kind of thing. At the Costco, the same thing: I guess many housewives will come up and say, “Oh, I like what you buy in your shopping cart. Are you going to cook something for me tonight?” So I was surprised they would say that to me. But at the bars, yes, I have more people hitting on me now. You can say sex object or whatever. 

If I want something, I really want something, I will do it. And I’m not good at any sports, so this is perfect, this weight-lift thing. And I do it really with very good discipline and eat, sleep, whatever, which most people can’t do: They like to party, to stay up late. And me? 10:00 I go to sleep. So I think that mentally, yes, I’m the one who forced myself to do things to get what I want. Physically, yes, training in the gym, and working out with a very fixed schedule. And also mentally I just put myself out there. It’s me, if you don’t like it, fuck off. Just like I go to the bathhouse, you know, people wear the towel; I don’t. I just walk around. If you think the dick is too small, go away, don’t even bother me. I don’t want to waste my time on you either. And if you think that’s good, yep, we can do anything, whatever you want. 

I don’t think I really ever had full confidence. Even right now I don’t. But even if I’m scared or not confident, I will force myself to do it, just to prove my point. So, yes, I will be shaking and nervous and heart beating, and I will do it regardless. Because I believe once you do more and more, you get used to it, and then eventually you get the confidence.