Last night, all over my Facebook, I started hearing about the murder of Bobby Khamvongsa, a 27-year-old Asian man who was stabbed to death on the streets of West Hollywood last weekend. It turned out that Bobby and I had 14 mutual friends on Facebook and he had moved to Los Angeles from Hawaii to pursue a career in make-up. As I was going through the blogs, I saw that LA Weekly wrote that “the victim was dressed in women’s clothes.” The reporting was certainly titillating. The immediate question came into my mind was—had he been gay bashed?
I was surprised that the most popular Asian American blogs have not picked up on this story considering some would report on the most random Asian American drowning in the ocean. Perhaps they didn’t know how to deal with an Asian American man who died in drag. I do feel there’s homophobia in the Asian American community which isn’t quite sure how to or doesn’t want to deal with sexuality within their own community while desperately trying to uphold being “normal” in America.
The story got even more intriguing as the murder suspect, Richard Herrera, 29, went to the same high school, Kaimuki High in Hawaii, as Bobby. It was reported that the police believed that Bobby was involved in a dispute with Richard, but their relationship was still left for our speculation.
What I find sad is that Bobby moved out to Los Angeles to pursue his passion and ended up as another dream discarded by the wayside, another dream forever deferred in Los Angeles. Perhaps it’s even sadder that Bobby was planning to return to Hawaii this weekend to celebrate his brother’s high school graduation but instead his family now has to deal with such loss and grief.
Apparently Bobby posted a Youtube video five days ago that I could no longer find but it was incorporated as part of some news video footage. He seemed to be someone so fiercely and openly gay and it was no doubt a tragedy that his life was taken so suddenly. In memoriam, Bobby Khamvongsa. May you rest in peace.