Around midnight, I was already tipsy at Gameboi at Rage in West Hollywood when a cute Asian boy came up to me and introduce himself as Youtuber Draco Chu. It was refreshing because most gaysians at Gameboi was either shy or snooty. Exactly… what’s there to be shy or snooty about at Gameboi, the quintessential gaysian club in Los Angeles?
We added each other on Instagram and when I got home I decided to check out his channel. I’m always interested in meeting potential gaysian talent. Draco Chu went to UCLA for both undergrad and grad school and is currently an educator moonlighting as a Youtube star. Go Bruins!
“So what’s your name? What? How do you spell it?” I kept asking when I just wasn’t computing a name like Draco.
“On a December morning, six years ago, I became a naturalized American citizen and I was granted a name change. A name that I’ve wanted for a long time…” explains Draco on his Youtube video “Story of my name Draco.” I knew his parents didn’t name him Draco. And I wasn’t aware I could change my name at naturalization.
For the longest time growing up, I hated my name “Quentin” because none of my teachers in elementary or high school in Hong Kong could pronounce it. They kept calling me “QUEEENtin.” And everyone kept asking me when I was growing up, “Why’s your name Quentin?”
“I don’t know… ask my parents. It’s on my birth certificate.” I would say.
When I asked my parents, they told me that it was Aunt Bobo who named me. I asked Aunt Bobo why you suggested “Quentin” as my name.
“I originally suggested naming you Bollweevil, but they settled on ‘Quentin.’” My aunt would laugh.
At some point, I thought about changing my name to something more common like “Chris” or “Christopher.” But eventually I grew into my name and connected with three other Quentin Lees I knew on Facebook.
So Draco inspired me to tell the story of my name.
Sunday, I showed up on a cooking show that I couldn’t talk about yet… and met another out gaysian Youtuber Gerrard Panahon who was on the cooking show with me. Gerrard does a Filipino food cooking show on Youtube called “Filipino Food Fridays.”
Do you know that the national dish of the Philippines is Chicken Adobo? I had no idea until another foodie on the show told me. Because I was on a reality TV show, I started thinking about Youtubers.
What are they really? They are really self-made reality TV stars. They are essentially on Youtube performing as themselves. And it brings me back to rethink Judith Butler’s hypothesis of gender as performance.
Identities are performance… and you have to keep performing to be yourself like it or not. Youtubers essentially document their identities in performance.