LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Coming out is a personal choice and for the American Asian and Pacific Islander community, coming out to family and friends can be challenging because of cultural expectations and traditions.

Preston Tang said he felt those societal pressures as a Vietnamese American growing up in a religious household.

“It was a struggle growing up and I didn’t have resources because my parents were first generation. So just to seek mental health counseling and to seek resources can be seen as a stigma and shame to the family. And it shouldn’t be that way,” Tang said.

Through that need, Tang also works with young adults on sex education and HIV prevention.

“Why is there no youth advocate or organization that quite caters to the AAPI community? And we were like, ‘You know what, let’s create an organization through that passion,’ ” Tang said.

That’s when the Southern Nevada Asian and Pacific Islander Queer Society — also known as SNAPIQ’s — was created in 2019.

As the public relations chairperson, he helps organize monthly events through the Center, Asian Community Development Council and work with Asian businesses to create safe places.

“So, we can have open and frank conversations about our API journey, being queer as well on touchy topics like sexuality, and providing education and resources and access to counseling,” added Tang.

Tang said the biggest need they see from people they help is accessing mental health resources, according to Tang, SNAPIQ’s has helped prevent 10 suicides so far.

 “We wanted to make sure that we created a sustainable change for the future so that future generations do not have to feel the same impact that we did growing up as queer AAPI folks.”

SNAPIQ’s already has around 300 members in Las Vegas. It’s all volunteer-based, too.

The organization provides resources for free, but donations are always welcome so members can continue to help the community. 

For more information, click here: https://www.snapiqs.org/