“If I could give advice to my younger self, it would be that your views of identity, gender and sexuality will change. It will be scary, but you will find a community that loves you.
Growing up, I was really determined to be that nerdy person who excelled, and I attached a lot of my self-worth to grades. But at the end of the day, I think you have to question and ask yourself, ‘Where does your self-worth come from, if it’s not from grades or your education, or anything like that?’. Your grades don’t save you. Grades don’t save you from shame. It doesn’t save you from vulnerability or how you face your family or the world.
Being queer and Asian is very difficult. I identify as a queer, non-binary person, and that took a long time to get to because you don’t find a lot of queer non-binary Asians here. I’m not even out to my parents, because I don’t think they’ll ever understand.
It’s hard because my parents wanted what was best for me because they struggled and had come over during the Vietnam war. I am working in a 8-4 job because my parents are like, you need stability, you need money. My parents did the best they could with trying to protect me from the world and making sure that I succeeded, but sometimes you just have to let people fail and find their way.
I have a really supportive group of friends who’ve allowed me to explore how being Asian and racism interplay with gender identity and sexuality. When I’m in my chosen community, everyone knows me already. I guess at the end of the day, I have to learn how to live my truth, but only in spaces that I know are safe for me.
You can lie down for people to walk all over you and people will complain that you are not flat enough. You can’t be what you can’t see. Which is why I became a filmmaker. So fight for the representation and create the content you wanted to see when you were younger, because you won’t get it just waiting around.