HomeAAPI Heritage MonthAAPI & LGBTQ Months inspire 2 Asian LGBTQ artists

AAPI & LGBTQ Months inspire 2 Asian LGBTQ artists

By Mimi Chen

May is AAPI month and June is Pride month, but when you identify with both groups, what do you do?   You create projects to represent both. Two Asian LGBTQ artists who connected via Facebook now have several projects to be released that they feel will empower both communities.

Quentin Lee identifies himself as a queer Asian American filmmaker. He’s been prolific in his efforts, responsible for several independently released films, such as The People I’ve Slept With, Ethan Mao, and Shopping for Fangs, which he co-directed with Justin Lin.  Collaborator Kit DeZolt is a talented dancer who apparently is also an aspiring comedian.  The two met over social media and found that their interests were aligned, especially since both were Asian American queer males working in the creative space.

Their first project together was the Boy Luck Club, a “gaysian” spoof on the Joy Luck Club, available via Tubi.

They also joined together to produce a Public Service Announcement in time for AAPI Heritage Month.

Lee was inspired by DeZolt’s background who is from Hong Kong adopted by a White family in Florida.  He notes that he felt it was an unusual story that he had to showcase. “I was fascinated when I heard about his story of being adopted from Hong Kong, because I grew up in Hong Kong and I didn’t know there were adoptees out of Hong Kong.”

Kit DeZplt with his partner

Even though DeZolt notes he didn’t have any cultural affiliation to his Asian roots growing up, he did feel lucky to have been adopted into an extended family that didn’t have attitudes about race or gender identity.  Plus, with their support, he became a talented dancer, saying “what I love about it is just being able to move my body. I feel like it’s more about just bringing joy to the audience. And I think that’s what I think is so fun about dance and movement in general is, yes, you can always use it to tell a story and to communicate.” he added.

An inspiration behind the PSA was a short from the big ad agency Weiden & Kennedy called The Myth that created an internet stir during last year’s AAPI month.  Lee notes he was inspired by his involvement with the making of that short and it helped spur him into creating the current PSA he is releasing to highlight AAPI month in May. 

Lee said “I was just saying that a lot of times, being both queer and AAPI, you feel like you have to kind of fragment your identity because sometimes in the queer community, you’re Asian but you’re not queer enough. And sometimes there’s also homophobia in the AAPI community where you are kind of not being talked about in general. So that’s why, I just thought, well, why don’t we just do that? And plus, because it’s AAPI Heritage Month, we can just do both being Asian and queer, because the two months are stuck together anyway.”

Lee stated that he wanted to emphasize the importance of representing narratives that resonate with multiple communities, aiming to bridge the gap between the queer and AAPI communities.  “I just really want to tell Kit’s story because it’s so unique, he added, because, “it’s not just a PSA, it’s just more like, you know, exposing Kits’ story to people that also appeals to several different communities.” 

A childhood photo of Kit DeZolt and his family
Kit DeZolt childhood photo. Courtesy: Kit DeZolt

In addition, the two collaborators have another release on the horizon.  Lee apparently produced a flick Laugh Proud that is set to open on May 17th.  Lee states that the film will be showcased at the Laemmle Theater NoHo in Los Angeles for a week. He explains, “it’s basically an LGBTQ plus stand-up comedy special.”  

Lee’s description was somewhat modest, apparently living up to his prolific reputation with several projects in the pipeline, many that have already garnered recognition.

His film Laugh Proud  has been Emmy® qualified for Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-recorded) and Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special, it will also begin streaming May 30 on AAM.tv.  https://wonderphil.biz/production/laugh-proud

In this project, Lee explains, Kit was actually the opening performer. “And he just started in comedy, I think. And so we weren’t sure.  At first, he was just going to his thing. And it was like, oh, it was really good. “

Hence,  DeZolt is featured as the opening performer in the piece because “we liked it.”   Lee consented to AsAmNews having exclusive content of DeZolt’s appearance to give you a taste of the movie:

In addition, Lee’s series Comedy Invasion has just been nominated for a 2024 Canadian Screen Award for Best Comedy Special:

Comedy Invasion currently streams on Tubi.

Lee added that he also was Emmy® 2024 qualified for Outstanding Television Movie for his feature film Last Summer of Nathan Lee which has just been released on Tubi and Amazon Freevee:

Apparently DeZolt was a producer on that project as well.

Looking ahead, Lee is apparently already in pre-production mode for yet another project, saying he will be shooting the first all Indigenous stand-up comedy feature film Rez Comedy on June 15 and is now in the process of raising funds for this project on Indiegogo.  You can find the information on this project here.

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.


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