By Scott Brennan If you are a user of any sort of gay dating website or App in Australia, it’s a phrase you’ve undoubtedly come across. “No Asians, No Indians” – or the more poetic “No Rice, No Curry” – seems to be emblazoned across the bottom of many profiles seeking hook ups or relationships. Many see it as a fairly innocuous statement, merely expressing a “preference”, but for many it is a disturbingly racist attitude. Scott Brennan looks at the world of gay male dating sites. Is it racist? Despite (or because of) our not so squeaky clean historical record, in Australia being labelled “racist” is one of the worst things to be called. Racism is “a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement”. But does “individual achievement” extend to sexual attractiveness? The question that needs to be asked is “When you say “No Asians, No Indians”, what exactly do you mean?” To be honest, I’ve never been given an adequate answer to this question. Let’s look at Asia. Go on, it’s not that far away. And the “Maps” app on your iPhone is just above the Grindr one. Asia encompasses about 48 separate countries. It’s huge. And let’s not forget that India is one of those countries. (So some might say that adding “No Indians” to “No Asians” is a bit of a tautology.) But the population of those 48 countries encompasses every single “type” imaginable. Tall, short, fat, skinny, muscly, hairy, smooth, with an enormous range of skin, hair and eye colour. Even if we are to take the more traditional definition of “Asian” – that still encompasses everything from the skinniest hairless twink, all the way up to Sumo Wrestlers. And yes, there ARE Asian bears! Also, in India alone there is a huge cross section of appearances with vast variety in skin tone and general colouring. So what does “No Asians” mean? Logically, it can’t be a statement of preference about a particular look or body type. Asia is too huge, and contains too many varied peoples for it to mean that. So let’s do some maths. As I said before, Asia is huge! It’s the largest and most populated continent on the planet. It has 3.9 billion people in it. 3.9 Billion! So, let’s say half of them are men. That’s 1.95 billion men. At a conservative estimate, let’s say that 10% of those men are gay. That leaves us with 195 million gay men. That’s like a gazillion Saturday nights at The Peel, at full capacity, plus drag queens (which may or may not be a terrifying thought, depending on your proclivities). So for someone to write “No Asians”, are they really saying that out of 195 million gay men, they will not find a single one even remotely attractive, simply because of the country they come from? We’ve already established the staggering breadth of ‘looks’ that all of these countries cover. So if it’s not the ‘look’ or ‘type’ of the person that matters, then what is it? Can you see why I’m confused?If the only reason that you’re not going to find someone attractive is their race, is it really that far out of the realm of possibility that that attitude may just be a little racist? I’ve tried to discuss this many times with people who have these things written on their profile. Mostly the reaction is one of anger. I’ve got a lot of “I have Asian friends, so don’t tell me that I’m racist”. My answer is always this – “That’s fine. You may not personally be racist. But can’t you see that writing “No Asians” may be considered a slightly racist statement?” There are several websites, and even a Facebook group on this very topic. Looking through the comments on these sites makes for very interesting reading. It got me thinking about what it must be like to be of Asian descent and to constantly see phrases on profiles that basically say, “I haven’t actually seen you or met you, but I’m not going to like you”. This must be terribly demoralising. How can you not take that sort of statement personally?Xenophobia is running rampant through this country at the moment. One need only look at the headlines to see the fear and loathing of people from other countries – particularly if they are arriving on boats. We, as the gay community, don’t need to buy into all of that. We have traditionally been a marginalised community that needs to be a bit more open and considerate to those who are also marginalised. I’m not saying that all people who write “No Asians” on their profiles are racist. I’m just saying that maybe we haven’t had a really good think about what it means and how it makes other members of our community feel. I think Kurt Vonnegut said it best. “There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

No Rice, No Curry