photo of eric wat and book covers

Asian American Speaker Series: Eric Wat

Love Your Asian Body: What AIDS Taught Us about Sex in a Pandemic

Sponsored by the Asian American Studies minor, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

AIDS was a deadly pandemic that devastated the gay community in the 1980s and 1990s. Typical stories about the AIDS movement are full of death, suffering, and anger. Asian American AIDS activists were no stranger to this grief and loss, but they also charted a different path of resistance, one that celebrated joy and sex as a way to bring the community together. In so doing, they redefined a queer Asian identity that is rooted in social justice. Their emphasis on joy is never more important in movement building today.

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Speaker Info

Eric C. Wat is the author of Los Angeles Times-bestselling novel SWIM (Permanent Press, 2019). His first book, The Making of a Gay Asian Community: An Oral History of Pre-AIDS Los Angeles (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002) was hailed as “a significant and trailblazing work” in queer Asian historiography when it was published. The follow-up to this book, Love Your Asian Body: AIDS Activism in Los Angeles (University of Washington Press, 2021), will be released in October. For a listing of his publications, please visit: He continues to consult with social movement organizations on program design and evaluation, action research, organizational development, and diversity, equity and inclusion, through coaching, technical assistance, facilitated reflection and storytelling. Occasionally Eric teaches Asian American studies and American studies at California State University at Long Beach.