Chapter 9: Navigating LGBTQ+ and AAPI in Nevada

Navigating the experience of being both AAPI and LGBTQ+ can be a fraught experience—but when you've found your community, it can be a joyful one, too.

Miss Nevada 2021, Kataluna Enriquez, was the first openly trans winner of the Miss Nevada pageant, tells her story about discovering herself and stepping into her stunning ball gowns—and into her power.

UNLV psychology Professor Gloria Wong-Padoongpatt gives us the context for understanding how mental health in AAPI communities in discussed, and how the field of psychology is moving away from talking about cultures as problems.

Local writer and creative Vera Blossom discusses the layers of issues in accessing healthcare for trans and AAPI individuals, and how finding your community can help. Ernie Yuen, a long-time LGBTQ+ advocate in the Las Vegas community, talks about how coming out can be easier in some Pacific Islander communities—but also how devastating it can be for youths who don't have family to turn to.

And finally, Monica Lapa, a board member of the United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance LV (UTOPIA) describes how their event, tea time, is a place to connect LGBTQ+ individuals with resources but also find belonging.

Support comes from

Exit Spring Mountain is a 10-part series from Nevada Public Radio exploring how history, politics, and economics shape the AAPI community while sharing stories by and for Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders.


Kataluna Enriquez, Miss Nevada 2021; Gloria Wong-Padoongpatt, Professor of Psychology, UNLV; Vera Blossom, Las Vegas Writer and Creative; Monica Lapa, Board Member, United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance Las Vegas

KNPR and NPR Thank-You Gifts including t-shirts hoodies and cap