Strength in Small Numbers

By Lisa Kasamoto

October 15, 2008

My therapist tells me that the percentage of Asian people who have Bipolar Disorder is smaller than other ethnicities. Then she asks, of course, “How does that make you feel?”

There’s a 0.0026% chance that someone will be Asian, Female, Gay, and have Bipolar Disorder. My name is Lisa. It’s nice to meet you. Asians comprise 4.4% of the U.S. population. Only 1% of people have Bipolar Disorder. Twelve percent of people are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender. My gender means that each slice is further cut in half.

I am a multiple minority member. I’ve got two chips on one shoulder, two on the other. I am cornered at least once a day by one stigma or another, no matter how many stereotypes I break. I had to come out of the closet. Twice.

I am a happy person. I see in all colors. I can talk to anyone (including myself). I have more than one home. Judging others has NO point at all. I am interlocking circles, a hub, a seer.

My weaknesses are the scars from being depressed and angry, cat hair covering every surface, and being secured to my soapbox like outdoor tables to a New York City sidewalk. At times, I am self-involved.

To remedy this, I reach outward toward my people: the outsiders, the freaks, the misunderstood, the square pegs, the different drummers, and the “next to normal.” I am writing this because I don’t want anyone, anywhere, anymore to feel they are alone. I am telling the truth about myself, how I’ve come to terms with my different identities, and what I am learning from the journey. I hope that in doing so, someone out there will learn they have a voice, may similarly start a journey, and may access the inspiration I’ve gotten from the diverse people and events that have moved me, taught me, and kept me alive.

So, back to the question, “How does that make you feel?” regarding having one more minority status. No different. I count what have become my blessings, five times strong. There’s one thing I do need: to meet that one other Asian Gay Female Bipolar soul. The diner in which we’d meet would have to be a 24-hour one. More than one of you out there? Now that’s a party!

Until then, I’ve found my life’s passion in creating a shared table, party, community, and safe space online for all of us. Please come find yourself at, as well as (the new musical about Bipolar Disorder that is showing, thus saving, my life) and then…

“Shine on!”*

*singer/songwriter Alice Ripley


  1. Lisa, you’re a fighter and as only the strong survive, you will live a long life.

  2. nice to see your words

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *