Michael Trung Nguyen is a lifelong renter, the only child of Vietnamese refugees, and an Intellectual Property law attorney serving startup clients in Silicon Valley, known for his outstanding contributions to both the legal world and the LGBTQ+ and AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) communities. Michael’s journey towards advocacy and community engagement began with the creation of his alter ego drag persona, Juicy Liu, back in 2011, courtesy of his gay softball team, the Dragons. From there, his remarkable story unfolds.
Juicy Liu quickly rose to prominence and was crowned Miss GAPA (GLBTQ+ Asian Pacific Alliance) in 2016. Serving the LGBTQ+ and AAPI communities as an ambassador, Michael then embarked on a transformative journey as he assumed the role of GAPA’s Chair from 2017 to 2021. During his tenure, he breathed new life into this long-standing, all-volunteer organization with a fresh vision: to build a vibrant and powerful Queer and Transgender Asian and Pacific Islander (QTAPI) community that stands out, speaks up, and is celebrated for their contributions to society.
Michael’s commitment to community organizing became evident through his creation of the Queer Lunar New Year drag variety showcases. These whimsically named events, such as “Enter the Rooster” (2017), “New Year, New Tricks” (2018), “When Pigs Fly Over the Moon” (2019), “Leaping Rats Hidden Histories” (2020), and the virtual Zoom gathering “Ox Talks” (2021), not only entertained but also united over 20 Queer and Transgender Asian and Pacific Islander organizations. Together, they formed the QTAPI Coalition of the Bay Area.
In response to the tragic mass shootings in Atlanta in March 2021, targeting Asian massage parlor workers, Michael demonstrated remarkable leadership by mobilizing over a thousand protestors within just three days. He spearheaded the LGBTQ+ March for Asian lives, which marched from Castro to City Hall. Michael’s efforts led to the formal declaration of the nation’s first-ever Queer and Transgender Asian and Pacific Islander (QTAPI) Week, recognizing the intersectionality of this community. QTAPI Week expanded to include cities statewide in 2022, such as San Diego, Oakland, Alameda, and San Jose. This year, it reached a national scale, held from May 28th to June 3rd, concluding with a celebratory block party at Noe and Market Streets in the Castro, made possible through a City grant from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.
In 2021, Michael was appointed to serve on the LGBTQI+ Advisory Committee of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, where he played a key role in establishing the first-ever Drag Laureate in the Nation. Michael’s deep-rooted belief in the power of drag manifested in events like “Legalize Drag,” raising over $10,000 for LGBTQ+ grassroots organizations in Tennessee. This legal showcase featuring professionals performing in drag took place at Oasis on April 29th, and later, Michael orchestrated an event in Texas, generating over $30,000 for LGBTQ organizations on July 30th at El Rio.
In recognition of his exceptional contributions, the California State Legislature honored Michael in 2022 as a Pride Month Honoree. Subsequently, GAPA members awarded him with the prestigious Lavender Godzilla “Godzy” Award, the highest distinction bestowed by GAPA. This award, established in 1989, recognizes current and former GAPA members who have left an enduring impact on GAPA and the broader QTAPI community.
In 2023, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors added to the list of accolades by recognizing Michael as an AAPI Heritage Month Honoree, highlighting his profound contributions to the city.
Michael’s commitment to building QTAPI political influence continues with the formation of the AAPI Caucus of the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club. His influence extends to other organizations, where he currently serves as Vice President on the board of the National Conference of Vietnamese American Attorneys, Vice President at Livable City, and as President of Proud Ultimate. Michael also co-founded the AAPI Caucus at Lavender Law, the annual conference of the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association, and remains actively engaged with the LGBTQ+ Network of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). Michael is an alumni of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, a three-time rider of AIDS/Lifecycle, and has served on the boards of Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF), the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California (VABANC), the Southwestern University Alumni Council, and continues to be an active member of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area.
Michael’s educational background includes a Juris Doctorate from the University of California, College of the Law, San Francisco, and a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX. His professional and community contributions serve as a testament to his unwavering dedication to justice, advocacy, and the empowerment of marginalized communities.