A few months ago, I felt the need to join the rest of the modern yuppie world and find a podcast to listen to on my commute to and from work.
I had previously tried listening to a handful of podcasts of varying themes—ones on current events, sex, fictional narratives—but could never really get into any of them. It’s not that they weren’t interesting or didn’t provide me with sufficient entertainment—the one I listened to on ayahuasca had my jaw-dropped half the time—but I would rather watch or read something than listen to it, and you can’t legally do that while driving.
Then I came across Nancy—a weekly NYC-based podcast hosted by two queer Asian-Americans, Kathy Tu and Tobin Low. I was taken aback by the short summary provided alone: “Stories and conversations about the queer experience today. Prepare to laugh and cry and laugh again.” Being a queer person, especially one of Asian background, I felt a deep, almost familial connection to these two people I had never met or interacted with before. What brought us together were the their stories about being queer AND Asian in America and the lens through which we see the world—our intersectional identities.
There are very few journalistic outlets that detail the queer Asian-American experience. There are several for queer people and several for Asian-Americans, but few to none for those who identify as both. Nancy satisfied my need for the lack of community I felt was missing in my life. Despite living in a small Texas town, I knew there were people living paralleled experiences elsewhere. I wasn’t alone.
The first episode centered around one of the most difficult moments in a queer person’s life—their encounters with coming out to their mothers. It was difficult to listen to, as Kathy’s mother (who she’s come out to in the past, but failed to earn her acknowledgement of the situation), in so many words, said she couldn’t fully support her yet. Why? Because that’s just the way her generation is, coming from conservative Taiwan.
Many queer people of color face this dilemma with our families who come from different worlds where“being gay” isn’t a thing. Stories and conversations like these are vital to individuals struggling with acceptance in their own families and communities. If we can continue creating these same, authentic experiences of connection and confronting taboo topics, we might be able to better understand one another and fill in missing gaps. Maybe even creating our own families along the way.
What they say might be true: it never gets easier, but you get better. We can get better together.