Lex Liang is a costume and set designer based in New York. He recently appeared on NetflixDating Around, a reality show that follows a group of singles around on five separate dates.
In a new interview with TIME, Liang says he never thought, as a gay Asian-American man, he would be cast as the lead on a dating show.
“I thought, you know what? This might be an opportunity to actually find a match,” he says. “I don’t think the gravity of what we’re talking about in terms of representation ever really landed. The whole experience was just sort of an experiment that I thought would be fun to do.”
Fun, sure. But also a lot more work than he expected.
We shot over a week. They wanted me to take the week off, but there was no way I was going to do that—my company was doing a major store renovation in Soho, and I had to meet contractors every day at 8 a.m. So we would shoot for eight to 10 hours, from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. I would meet somebody for like an hour and we would do drinks and then they would reset. We would go away and take a break or the bartender would bring me another cocktail. I would get home around six. I watched the sun come up every day that week. I would take a nap and then go back to work.
A topic that came up during one of his dates was his race and the fact that he is a “Gaysian.”
“We all know that extreme racism is so rampant in the gay community,” Liang tells TIME. “I can’t tell you how many times on Grindr it’s like, ‘no Asians, no fats, no femmes.’ That is, at its core, racist. But on the flip side, we are a product of how we’re brought up.”
“A lot of that is marketing and a lot of it is just this ingrained racism. So fundamentally, the entire country is underexposed. And so we decide to fetishize the other and appropriate things. And it continues this cycle.”
And while Liang says he’s seen strides made by African Americans who are speaking out and getting representation, that isn’t happening as much in the Asian American community.
“Asian people, we like to be the silent culture ninjas,” he says. “We’ll assimilate. We’ll work really hard. I used to be in that boat—no pun intended—and think, “let’s just co-exist. Let’s not cause a ruckus or draw any attention.”
He continues: “But then you say, hold on one second: that’s part of the problem. And the only way this is going to change is if you have an Asian leading man in a major Hollywood release, with Julia Roberts falling in love with him. That’s the only way that Pennsylvania to Nevada, and Montana to Texas, is going to be like, “Oh. So they’re not just the nerdy best friend? They’re not just the accountant?”
Here’s where the cast of netflix’s season two is now
An update on the hopeful New Orleans daters of Season Two.
Nowadays, watching two people go on an uncomfortable blind first date in a crowded bar feels kind of like visiting a history museum, observing a relic of days past. And as sad as that is, it also still makes for some good old voyeuristic fun. Following a dramatic New York-based Season One last year, the second season of Netflix’s Dating Around, which was filmed in October of 2019, drops Friday June 12. This time around, six New Orleans singles are sent on five blind dates each. Every episode follows one dater as they awkwardly make small talk, argue, or hit it off with their five matches, after which they must select one of their suitors who they deem worthy of a second date.
Although Dating Around is like the refined, classy aunt to Netflix’s other 2020 trashy dating shows Love Is Blind and Too Hot To Handleit delivers the same cringeworthy moments that make reality dating shows so watchable. Full of passionate first kisses and and plenty of serious drama, Season Two does not disappoint. While the cast has yet to announce if any of their second dates led to a third or even fourth, here’s what the six members are up to on social media lately.
Not being attracted to someone is due to physical attributes and what triggers a sexual response. Just because someone doesn’t find anyone else as sexually appealing doesn’t mean they’re racist. There are people are extremely specific with what they want to have sex with right down to hair colour, size, amount of body hair. I knew a guy who was only interested in blonde jocks, and they all looked like they could be the same person. There’s another argument that stating on a profile “no Asians” is racist, but again that’s not true. It is an example of someone being rude, that’s it.
What is the real intent behind this though? Because I feel like those same individual gay men who complain about “sexual” racism from other gay guys of another race, who may not find them interesting as an individual, are the same ones who will not even consider dating a gay guy of their own race.
Their intent for the outrage seems suspicious to me. I as a black gay man will feel much more offended if another black man would not want to go out with me. Not if another gay guy of another ethnic or racial background does not like me. I will feel “all in my feelings” for like a moment, but I wouldn’t feel outrage or demeaned. He just does not like me, that is it. Human beings are tribal. We will feel more inclined to date guys who have the same ethnic or racial background as we do.*Now if the gay guy of another race is physically hostile to me while turning me down then I will be outraged. If he went all supremacist then I will be outraged, but I’m not going to want to force some individual to date me.*—>If we don’t expect that of people who we share the same ethnic or racial background with, why do we expect that from other people of a different ethnic or racial background. It is just weird to me. And it just makes minorities seem pathetic and desperate (even if it was not intended to be) by placing a particular group on a pedestal.
I’m all for interracial love, but even I’m like “hmmm…no” “not today” “maybe not even ever” sometimes with guys of different ethnic or racial background.
The only thing I do agree with is you should just inform people of what type of guys you like without needing to demean those type guys you don’t like.