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.


  1. the link to the video that bobby posted day be4 he died,

  2. I just wanted to thank you so much for writing such beautiful words about my friend Bobby. Bobby was the best person I have ever met and if you had access to his FB you would see that he has almost over 100 comments from people all over the state…everyone that knew him is still having trouble accepting that he is gone. Bobby had the most uplifting personality and he could make anyone in the room smile – which made it very difficult to not like him. I think about him every minute and miss him so much, and I agree that it is very difficult to read or see what other news articles or bloggers are saying about him. Bobby was one of the best people I have ever known and he will never be replaced 🙁

    Here is the link to the video you were trying to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHDEbjgN74Y&feature=BFa&list=HL1337822958

    I watch this video over and over… I heart him!!!

  3. I remember Bobby from when he was in Hawaii, he was so loved. I never got to be close with him, but I do know it is such a loss to the world to have him gone so young. Sadly, I knew Richard a lot more personally. I was shocked and horrified to find out her had taken someone’s life. I haven’t seen him in years. It was definitely not a gay bashing crime, because Richard himself is gay. I send love and prayers to the family and friends of Bobby, he was taken too soon.

  4. I didn’t know Bobby either. On his facebook page under his photo’s titled “Life in LA”, the last 2 photos show him with friends. The tallest guy in these photo’s with Bobby and his friends is Richard Herrera. They were taken on May the 16th, 2 days prior to his murder. I don’t know why I’ve been drawn to this story so much. I guess because I’m gay and these are my people. I know, from his pictures, that he was loved and besides the reason for his murder, that’s the only other thing I care about. RIP Bobby Spears Khamvongsa.

  5. somebody done cut that bitch up in the street. that big mean latino lover just cut that bitch up.

  6. he was a good friend of mine whom I shared similar dreams with and he was a fierce guy who was as bright as the sun.

    I’m actually pretty surprised that people in WeHo are very quiet.

    Richard was not a close friend according to others so… in my own view, the articles around him felt like it was gay bashing…

    I mean, why would anyone really need to know whether he had make up or on like one article mentioned otherwise?

  7. Also, thank you for this.