July 26, 2018 at 12:01 pm PST | by Quentin Lee
Queery: Quentin Lee

Quentin Lee and Casper (Photo courtesy Lee)

Since I was twelve, I’ve wanted to have children.

I thought I would have to marry a woman but I knew early on I was gay.

From high school to my second year of college, I volunteered a lot. I was a camp counselor, volunteered at Montreal Children’s Hospital, the Quebec Society for Disabled Children and as big brother in Berkeley. I wasn’t sure why I wanted to work with kids so much but now, having a 2-year-old son, I realize I was preparing to become a father.

I came out during my junior year in college and for a time was not too concerned with having kids, socializing and working on my budding career as a filmmaker.

When I first came to Los Angeles for film school, fresh out of graduate school at Yale in mid-90s, a friend donated her eggs to a gay couple that later founded an agency called Growing Generations. 

As I became an established filmmaker that yearning to be a parent came back and I started seriously thinking about having a kid through surrogacy. I even entertained having a child with a girlfriend but I eventually got scared away when a woman wanted to be my housewife. What a bargain, right? I’d work like a dog to support a woman I wasn’t romantic with and raise a child jointly. It didn’t take a genius producer to figure out what a bad deal it was.

When I finally decided to have a kid before it was too late, I went to meet with my friend at Growing Generations who showed me a photo of their surrogate daughter, now a young woman attending Yale. I was sold immediately. And so in 2015, I took the plunge and signed up.

Within three months, I got a surrogate match. A year and a half later, before I could even properly say farewell to my single and carefree life, my son was born in Ohio. I decided to make “Gay Hollywood Dad” as a documentary witness to our journey and gift to my son that no one can take away. I look forward to Casper being my muse and live a new life through his beautiful brown eyes.

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?

Since I was 19. I kept telling my mom for 10 years until she accepted my sexuality when I was almost 30.

Who’s your LGBT hero?

Oscar Wilde lived as truthfully and creatively as possible in Victorian England. I have his action doll on my desk to encourage me to be as brilliant as him everyday.

What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present?

I have been clubbing since I came out. I loved the Factory and Rasputin, clubs you would dress up for, dance and have loads of fun with friends. Tigerheat on Thursday is that spot now. Multi-racial, multi-sexual and intergenerational.

Describe your dream wedding.

I hate weddings. I did a brief stint as a wedding videographer and hated other people’s weddings, self-indulgent and boring.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

Fighting for equality for Asians in America of course.

What historical outcome would you change?

Nothing. I believe Trump, like Hitler, is a historical necessity. I voted for Hillary, but I also accept and support Trump as my president. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to criticize and bitch about him. But I accept the outcome of a democracy… and that of history.

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?

I have to say it was the movie version of Goonies. I would love to see the deleted scenes with the octopus.

On what do you insist?

Freedom of speech and democracy.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

About particles traveling faster than the speed of light, “Yeh that’s how we can travel through a black hole maybe?”

If your life were a book, what would the title be?

“Dress Like a Boy.” I wrote it during my depressing year being a graduate student at Yale, missing my bisexual and non-monogamous ex-boyfriend at Berkeley (fiction).

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? Nothing because I have really enjoyed being a gay and Asian man.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world?

My mind and psychology is already something beyond the physical/material world.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Be yourself and push the agenda you’re passionate about.

What would you walk across hot coals for?

The well-being of my son, I suppose.

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

Homophobic straight-acting gays. Get over it!

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

Torch Song Trilogy. It was the first gay movie I saw.

What’s the most overrated social custom?

Thanksgiving. As a Canadian, we also have Thanksgiving in November.

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

The Nobel Prize in Literature.

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

That I was sexy.

Why Los Angeles?

I fell in love with LA as a teenager watching Brian De Palma’s Body Double from the VHS I bought at Akihabara in Tokyo. Los Angeles seemed so beautiful and romantic. So I applied to UCLA for college but UCLA didn’t accept me and I got into Berkeley for undergrad. It took me two more tries to eventually get into UCLA Film School.  LA is both chill and dynamic. You can work like a maniac not feel lonely knowing others are working hard too. Yet you can totally blow off work and be a bum and feel good about it.

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