I am a 2nd generation Chinese-amerikan (Half Cantonese/Half TeoChow) born to a mom who immigrated to the US from Vietnam. Born in Houston, grew up in Seattle. I’m a Monkey, Sagittarius Sun, Libra Moon, Able-bodied female. I grew up working class, but have now moved into more of a middle class lifestyle. I went to U of WA and got a BA in Communications and Philosophy and a Master’s in Social Work. I think I’m almost done with my Saturn return. I’m learning to love myself in all ways possible. I’m an only child. I don’t like rules or things that confine me. I want to run free in slow motion across a field, except I have a lot of allergies to flowers, dust and bugs. I’m also allergic to gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, and RICE. WTF, right?! That’s what I’m saying! I love to play and joke around and make fun of the people I love. When I’m excited, I like to bounce around. When I’m not, I’m all mopey. Lastly, I am a co-creator of lesbeasian.com, a website created for and by Asian Lesbians. I go by the alias “Tawny” in LesbeAsian, to protect our identities from crazy lesbophobes out there.
Who? name, age, what you identify as (or not)
“Tawny” HA, 31, Lifelong Lesbian, I used to identify as queer but realized politically and personally, lesbian is a better representation of my life and values.
What? what do you do for a living or things you would like to do
I have a MSW and did social work for most of my adult life working with youth of color. Last year I decided to quit my job and go travel abroad to Asia with my partner to discover our roots and of course look for other lesbians. Not really knowing if they existed or not, we figured Asian people make up over half the world, and half of that are womyn and you know a good size of those womyn are LESBIANS whether they are out or living closeted lives. They have to exist. To our surprise there were quite a few lesbians in the different countries we visited and it was just beautiful. I remember a moment in Western China, as we were walking down the street, another lesbian with her arm around her girl, we made eye contact, did the head nod and smiled and kept walking. But in that brief moment, it was just a beautiful thing. And even though we couldn’t communicate in any other way, we knew, we understood each other and had a connection.
I am all about healing. Healing within myself, with my girlfriend, with my mom and friends. I love to think about what things mean, why thing are the way they are, the purpose in life, and analyzing dreams to get closer to our personal truth. I like to ask a lot of questions. What I would like to do is find a career that will pay me to be all these things.
When did you come out? Any stories?
I came out to myself when I was about 20 years old. Before that I always thought it was just because of the connection and love between me and my girlfriend at the time. Over the years, I realized more and more that nope, it wasn’t unique to that relationship, it was because I am LESBIAN and love womyn. I came out fully at 25/26 years old, then at 28, I came out to my mom. My mom was very accepting and of course she had suspected the whole time. She even asked me a few years before I came out and I was totally not prepared for it. She said, “Are you gay”? Instead of responding to her question, I asked her back with attitude, “Why? Are you gay??” I feel lucky to be accepted by mom. It was a big relief and burden lifted after I was able to reveal my whole self to her. It was one less thing I was carrying and one more part of myself that was integrated. It was an amazing feeling.
How did coming out impact your career or relationships with others?
It didn’t negatively impact my career much as I was out in my interview at my last job. It was important in my profession for people like me to be visible, out and proud. I think being out has only been a positive experience for me in terms of my relationships. I have been able to be truly myself and for people to take me for who I am. It also helped me to sort out which of the people in my life were my true friends and which had too much internalized stuff that it was better for me to just let go of those relationships to continue my own growth and healing.
Advice you can give to other Asian, Gay & Proud readers.
Asian Lesbians exist. We are everywhere. Consume media and read books that will keep pushing your growth, healing and politics. Be in your body and love it for what it is, at all times. Feel your feelings, it’s legit, and let it move in your body. Release any negativity. Analyze your dreams, you’ll discover something new about yourself. Express yourself, your voice needs to be heard. Stand up for yourself whenever possible and safe to do so. Check in with your inner child often. And check out lesbeasian.com and telldreamcatcher.com too!