Gold House honors LGBTQ Asian American and Pacific Islander influencers during AAPI Heritage Month

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and GLAAD salutes LGBTQ Asian Pacific Americans and their contributions to advancing LGBTQ acceptance!

Gold House, the collective of influential pan-Asian voices from all over the world, has a disctinct focus: elevating the professional and cultural legacy of the Asian diaspora. The organization's venture objective is broken down into three categories: 1) Colliding, where networking opportunities, industry planning engagements, and social gatherings are coordinated; 2) Investing in various creative and business projects in all areas, from finance & marketing to production & mentoring; and 3) Promoting and amplifying the endeavors of key individuals of the pan-Asian community.

One example of promotion is executed through Gold House's A100 list, which Gold House describes as a way to honor "the most impactful Asian American & Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in culture every May for AAPI Heritage Month". Gold House's Selection Committee is composed of various industry leaders and esteemed figures such as legendary news anchor, Connie Chung, Yahoo! Founder, Jerry Yang, Grammy-winning artist and musician, Pharrell Williams, and GLAAD's CEO & President, Sarah Kate Ellis. 

This year's list is incredbly exceptional because it also highlights out LGBTQ Asian American and Pacific Islanders across various industries who are both accelerating cultural visibility for the AAPI community as well as acceptance for the LGBTQ community. In addition to the allies included in this impressive list of game changers, here are a few of the LGBTQ AAPI power players from the Gold House A100 List:

Cayden Mak - Executive Director, 18MillionRising

Cayden Mak runs 18MillionRising.org, a digital civic engagement hub for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, alongside Campaign Strategist, Taz Ahmed. Through 18MillIonRising, he has reimagined how activists approach social media tools and tactics through several inventive and critical campaigns in policy, media representation, and public opinion. Mak was part of 18MR.org’s founding staff and integral to developing the organization's vision, voice, analysis, and playbook. He was previously Chief Technology Officer and a driving force behind the first community-centered design process focused on solutions by and for AAPI communities with VoterVOX, the web app that matches volunteer translators with limited English speaking voters. 

Craig Robinson - Executive Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer, NBCUniversal

Craig Robinson is responsible for defining, enabling and fostering a corporate culture that values diversity of talent, ideas, values and backgrounds across all parts of the company. He works closely with business leaders across the portfolio to promote these efforts, and acts as the main liaison between NBCUniversal and key national and local figures. He also helps guide the company’s eight internal Employee Resource Groups and serves as co-lead of Comcast and NBCUniversal’s Joint Diversity Council. Previously, Robinson was President and General Manager of KNBC-TV, the NBC Owned Station in Los Angeles where he oversaw all aspects of the television station including news, sales and community relations. Robinson was promoted to that position in 2008 after serving as the station’s EVP of Operations and Digital Strategy for one year.

Eugene Lee Yang - Actor, Writer, Director, Viral Media Producer

Eugene Lee Yang is one of the most recognizable Asian American faces online as a comedic performer, most notably in his viral docu-comedy series The Try Guys from Buzzfeed. His videos that he’s produced, directed, edited, and starred in have been viewed billions of times over, with a strong commitment to sharing authentic Asian American, queer perspectives, and unmatched progressive fashion sense. In 2018, Eugene left Buzzfeed to focus on acting, develop his own Asian American scripted series, write features, and form a production company with his fellow Try Guys to launch an online channel and develop unscripted shows for traditional studios.

Kevin Iwashina - Agent, Endeavor Content

Kevin Iwashina is an agent at Endeavor Content, a division of global entertainment leader Endeavor (formerly WME | IMG). In his role, Iwashina identifies financing opportunities, handles sales and provides advisory services for media companies and content creators in the non-fiction space. In non-fiction, recent film and television projects include: Chef’s Table, Le Mans, The Grand Tour, Gleason, Step, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story, and Long Strange Trip, among others. He holds a B.A. in English literature with a specialization in French language and culture from U.C.L.A. and is active in the nonprofit sector. In addition, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) and is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Documentary Association (IDA).

Kim Yutani - Senior Programmer, Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Film Festival has been the preeminent showcase for U.S. independent film and has provided a platform for diverse storytellers for over 30 years. As a programmer for Sundance for the last 10 years, Yutani helped discover and launch the careers of many filmmakers, including Dee Rees, Jill Soloway, Damien Chazelle, Ava DuVernay, and is particularly proud to have supported the work of Asian American writer-directors like Jennifer Phang (Half-Life, Advantageous), Andrew Ahn (Spa Night), and Christina Choe (Nancy).

Schuylar Bailar - Swimmer

The Harvard University swimmer, who was assigned female at birth, is the first openly transgender athlete to compete in any sport on any NCAA Division 1 men’s team. Bailar was originally recruited as a member of the Harvard Women’s Swimming and Diving team. After transitioning during a gap year, Bailar was also offered a spot on the men’s team by coach Tyrrell, allowing Bailar the choice of either team; he elected to swim on the men’s team. Bailar is a passionate advocate for LGBTQ rights, inclusion, and representation--his work with GLAAD's #SpiritDay campaign is one big example of his activist platform. He has assisted with and is featured in the USA Swimming cultural inclusion guides for both LGBTQ and Asian American athletes. Most recently, Bailar was featured as one of Out Magazine's 2017 OUT 100.

“Gold House is excited to create an impactful, safe, and representative forum for pioneering Asians across ethnicities, industries, and generations," a Gold House spokesperson said. "These founders, creative voices, and leaders are leveraging our elders’ legacies to forge a better future rather than simply lamenting the present. We look forward to supporting them in identifying the next wave of productive solutions that benefit our children and all of society, at large--just as we have for decades.”

The presence of the AAPI community is important in properly representing diversity across all fronts in any industry. Take the film industry for example. According to GLAAD's 2018 Studio Responsibility Index (SRI), "While the number of queer characters dropped substantially year over year, there was a welcome increase in racial diversity of LGBTQ characters following the previous two years of decreases. In 2017, the majority of LGBTQ characters were people of color (57 percent, 16 of 28). However, there were no Asian/Pacific Islander LGBTQ characters in major studio releases in 2017."

Congratulations to all of the LGBTQ Asian American and Pacific Islander members of Gold House's A100 list!