Margaret Cho Reflects on the "Biggest Discrimination" She's Faced as a Queer Asian Woman

In an exclusive chat with E! News, The Book of Queer's Margaret Cho shared why representation matters and how queer stars like Lil Nas X are "doing such great work" for the LGBTQ+ community.

By Alli Rosenbloom, Gabrielle Chung Jun 22, 2022 9:43 PMTags
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Margaret Cho is in charge of her own story.

The comedian continues to be a vocal member of the LGBTQ+ community as she lends her voice to the first episode of The Book of Queer, which looks back on forgotten queer figures of the past and their impact today. Margaret exclusively tells E! News that she was "surprised" by some of the "lost history" unearthed on the discovery+ show, though she admittedly can relate since she, too, has felt unseen by society at times.

"The biggest discrimination that I felt is really invisibility," the openly bisexual actress shared. "This lack of representation and lack of leading by example, lack of seeing who's out there that I can relate to in terms of being Asian American and a queer woman. There are so many things that society has not offered until now."

And that's why Margaret is such a proponent of Pride and amplifying LGBTQ+ voices for not just the month of June, but all year-round.

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"With social media, I learn a lot from other people in comedy like Joel Kim Booster, Bowen YangConrad Ricamora and Andrew Ahn," Margaret, who starred in the queer rom-com Fire Island earlier this month, said. "My greatest achievement is to be able to inspire a generation. For so long, to exist in isolation of not really knowing that I had a place in the world of entertainment, that was really strange."

Her advice for those looking for their own place in the world? Read on to find out.

Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

E! News: What does Pride Month mean to you?

Margaret Cho: It's not really just about one month of a year or one parade. I think that more than ever we have to celebrate ourselves and look to protecting our rights⁠—whether that's protecting trans kids, trans legislation or increasing our own visibility throughout the media. It's really about making sure we maintain and advance our own rights and abilities to continue to exist and to thrive.

E!: Your episode of The Book of Queer delves into queer renaissances through history. What renaissance are we in now?

MC: I think we're in a renaissance of comedy. We have so many incredible comedic minds out there working today⁠—whether that's Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang, Wanda SykesBilly Eichner, Bob the Drag Queen or Eddie Izzard. Queer comedy is really cutting edge, so queer voices are really front and center.

E!: What do you hope people take away from this series?

MC: I hope that they really learn a lot about the history of our contributions to society as queer people, as really formative members of society in science, art and entertainment. That we've been creating culture since we've been around and will continue to.

E!: What advice do you have for people who are struggling with identifying or coming out with their sexual orientation?

MC: You have a safe place to come out to. There is a world that is meant to be discovered and you're not alone in your journey. So many people can help you and very sincere in our effort to assist.

E!: What kinds of resources do you recommend for those people who may feel isolated than others?

MC: Social media is a great place to start. There's so many places to look to to find that support, even by watching people lead by example. People like Lil Nas X are doing such great work and is out there doing incredible things. Different stories are being told out in social media that you can just look to see how many people are really enjoying and living a very proud life.

The Book of Queer is streaming now on discovery+. New episodes drop weekly.

(This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.)

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