[Canada] Jen Sung: Using love as language in the face of racism and queerphobias

Jen Sung – Straight.com – Monday, 23 June 2014 (originally published 16 Jun)

Jen Sung
Jen Sung says, “Lately I have been trying to shift my focus on love as a language. Instead of calling people out, I like the idea of calling people in. In love and in solidarity.” Image: Straight.com

On May 21st, I attended the Vancouver School Board (VSB) meeting that was held about the updated transgender and gender identity policy. At this meeting I sat in alliance with a large crowd of supporters, but there were also quite a few voicing their misinformed opposition, and some of those who were dissenting were members of the Chinese community. After the arduous eight-hour meeting, numerous LGBTQ supporters and allies approached me and asked why Chinese people allowed such homophobia and trans-phobia to persist—as though I was the sole voice of expertise on a rich and heterogeneous culture. As if the small group of Chinese people voicing their dissent at the meeting were in any way representative of such a multi-ethnic and globally widespread community.

Indeed, many of those who opposed the updated VSB policy were Chinese and spoke Cantonese. But some also spoke in Mandarin. I wondered, at that meeting, if people knew the difference. Or did it all simply sound the same? Cantonese and Mandarin? Did it all sound so foreign, so alien, that these languages you don’t understand can so easily be grouped under hate speech?

I am a queer woman of color born in the city of Taipei on the island of Taiwan. I embody queerness in a racialized body, as a settler on unceded Coast Salish Territories, home of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish nations . . .

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