Oral history interview with Nicholas Shi, 1958 -


Gay Chinese-Latino immigrant faces racial tension and a struggle with personal acceptance coming out in the gay community in the early 1980's.



Nicholas Shi was born in El Salvador to full-Chinese parents, but moved to United States for college to escape building civil conflict. Shi moved to Washington in 1986 to start work. Not yet fully out of the closet, he secured brief relationships through The Washington Blade and frequented many gay bars and restaurants in Dupont Circle, where he often felt invisible. He sought out company from other Asians and eventually helped found and manage the social group 'Asians and Friends' even running their newsletter and marching with the group in early Pride parades. He experienced a lack of community among gay Latins but found a home in the Asian community despite tensions over Asian fetishes and emasculation. He and a partner bought a house between Dupont and Logan circle in 1986 and has lived there ever since, noting the changes in the neighborhood, which he borders with P St and 16th St NW. The rest of the family remains in the El Salvador with varying levels of acceptance of his sexual orientation and marriage to a long-term partner. He talks about 'de-gaying' the house when his relatives came to visit, until eventually coming out. Places mentioned include Lambda Rising bookstore, Friends, a showtunes piano bar, Mr. P's, P Street Station, The Fireside, JR's, Trumpets, Lost & Found and The Glory Hole.

Includes brief commentary from Shi's husband.




Dupont Circle neighborhood, Washington DC


No, not yet available.





“Oral history interview with Nicholas Shi, 1958 -,” Rainbow History Project Digital Collections, accessed June 21, 2024, https://archives.rainbowhistory.org/items/show/1396.

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