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Out and Successful Interviews

Sony – 5/29/11

I was born, raised, and currently live in Maryland. I’m mostly Filipino, but I’ve also got some Chinese, Spanish, white American, and Cherokee. I was in an abusive relationship for a substantial part of my life till about three years ago when I began doing capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that incorporates dance and music. Capoeira gave me the physical and emotional strength to free myself from that relationship. Interestingly enough, capoeira was created by Afro-Brazilian slaves who found freedom through the art. When I’m not playing capoeira, I like to play soccer and snowboard among other activities. I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie, so I’m up for trying anything. I wanted to get into more martial arts and sports when I was younger, but my mother would never let me because “it’s for boys, not for girls.” I say, challenge accepted!

Who? name, age, what you identify as (or not)
Sony, 27, lesbian, butch

What? what do you do for a living or things you would like to do
I’m a graphic designer for a professional organization for those interested in actuarial science. Don’t ask me anymore than that because I don’t even know. I just do the designs. I definitely enjoy doing graphic design, but I would like to work for a place where my designs aren’trestricted to the boring and conservative variety. Fortunately I’m able to do more fun designs on the side for friends and family.

When did you come out? Any stories?
I was 8 years old when I came out and innocently told my mother that I had a crush on a girl. She shot that notion down quickly. That same year, I came out to someone I thought I could trust, but she told everyone and the bullying I was already experiencing in school grew worse. Eventually I found acceptance and support in my best friend and he even posed as my boyfriend so that the rumors about me would stop. I couldn’t openly come out again (to my peers, at least) till high school
and only after I saw the support received when one of my classmates came out. As for my parents, I had no intention of coming out to them, but they found out the summer before I started college, and it wasn’t pretty. Since then, it’s essentially been “don’t ask, don’t tell”between me and my parents.

How did coming out impact your career or relationships with others?
Initially, I went to interviews dressed in women’s clothes (not a dress/skirt!) mostly because I didn’t really have any professional men’s clothing yet and also because my girlfriend at the time didn’t think people would hire me if they knew I was a lesbian. I disagreed with her, but again, I had nothing else to wear. Once hired, I didn’t feel the need to just go around and let everyone know I was a lesbian though. I let them figure it out themselves or they’d find out one way or another through interactions and conversations with me. Either way, I didn’t try to hide it. Once I finally acquired some professional men’s clothing, I didn’t hesitate to show up at work dressed like a man, and I didn’t receive any trouble for doing so. I definitely felt more comfortable at work and I had good relationships with my coworkers. Recently I’ve gone to interviews dressed as a man and I was received well, but I don’t think that’s the reason why I wasn’t hired. If it is, then I’d rather not work there anyway. One of the nice things about being a graphic designer is I can kind of get away with appearing a little unconventional, especially when I dye my hair green, for example (or have tissue stuck up my nose).

Advice you can give to other Asian, Gay & Proud readers.
I have to confess that I was hesitant about doing this questionnaire because I didn’t think I qualified as successful compared to the other stories, especially since I’m not really actively involved with anything LGBTQ oriented, but then again, activism is not my forte. I absolutely admire activists, but I realized I’m still successful just because I survived and managed to find a place among everyone else in this world and I proved that I’m just as good (if not better) than any other non-LGBTQ graphic designer. So my advice: be good at what you do and show the world that anything they can do, you can do better as a gay, proud Asian!

About Miyuki Baker

Miyuki is a resident of the place where circles overlap. As a queer, nomadic, multi-racial/lingual female mixed-media artist activist and healer, she uses common or discarded objects, personal anecdotes, public spaces and performance to make accessible art that brings non-mainstream identities and ideas into maximum visibility. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 2012, she traveled for 14 months as a Watson Fellow to fifteen countries documenting the intersections of art and activism in queer/trans communities in blog posts and self-published magazines while making performance art. The eight magazines Miyuki created on this trip (queerscribe.com) and their strong media following exemplify her illustration/graphic design, storytelling and people skills. Her work has been featured in several magazines such as Hyphen, Broken Pencil and Knik, blogs and radio shows, well-known for their interactive and eye-catching mixed media approach to activism that utilizes both online media and on-site performance and workshops. This fall she will begin the PhD program at UC Berkeley in Performance Studies. You can follow her travels at heymiyuki.wordpress.com and email her at heymiyuki@gmail.com


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