#fbf to the #nqapia2018 conference!
1) In the past, I felt deeply insecure about what I looked like and never liked my own appearance as an Asian gay man, so seeing these conference pictures and having my first reaction be, “Omg, I’m so cute” is a huge milestone
2) This conference has had a slow but dramatic impact on my psyche. I think it was the first time I was confronted (yes confronted) with an entire community of people who shared almost all aspects of my own identity, and humanizing people like myself is a powerful experience. It was a beautiful thing to share space with people doing the work as queer & trans Asians & Pacific Islanders. I had a lot of moments of pure awe and deep love, warmth. I got to see people considered elders in our movement speak to their experiences. I didn’t have to discard any part of me to be there. There were so many people who, in their fashion, the way they spoke and occupied space, held themselves with grace. But the conference was also powerful in ways that made me incredibly uncomfortable. Because I had never belonged to a community like this as big as it was (over 700 people at the conference), sometimes I felt so alien to the experience that I caught myself asking, “Do I really belong here?” Where I expected to feel only empowerment and belonging, I was also met with feelings of being lost, building emotional walls, seeing people who looked like my blood family but who were queer, and dealing with the fact that I’ve been walling my blood family off from my heart in ways I wasn’t conscious of. Though I have come very far, it’s still evident that I got issues lol, but things that I’ll never be able to explore if we don’t have a QTAPI community down here.