With Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Pride Month hitting my calendar back to back, it was a delight to be able to dive deeply into the experiences of a fellow queer Asian woman who not only understands the intricacies of her identities but also relishes in how special they make her.
Amongst all the jokes about bootstrapping startups, horror stories about dating while queer, and quieter moments about loss and death, Anita’s unapologetic confidence shines through.
“I have had interesting experiences with intersectionality. I do gain confidence in the sense that I'm a fairly unique person and I know that I am,” explains Anita. “I can talk about that from different angles. It's not just my race. It's not just my sexuality. It's a combination of all those things and even on a deeper level, I'm not just gay, I'm not just straight, and I'm not just black.”
Because of the intersections in Anita’s identities, she’s needed to build her own model of what being black, Asian, queer, and a woman mean. Growing up, the model that she had for being true to herself was her older sister.
“My sister was insanely confident,” Anita reminisces. “She moved here from Nigeria when she was 12 years old. She wasn't queer but a lot of what she struggled with when she was a teenager and even into adulthood was identity. If all around you is confusion then the only thing that can really propel you forward in any way is having some sense of confidence in yourself.”
Anita’s sister passed about a year ago, and though the loss of a “second mom” isn’t a gap that can ever be filled, Anita honors her memory by being just as unapologetically herself as her sister was.
“Confidence is something that doesn't have to be seen as you being super tenacious and doing the most all the time,” Anita explains. “It's really just being steadfast in your beliefs and knowing that whether or not people disagree with you, you still hold true to what you value.”
Though her sister’s individuality inspired her, Anita’s definition of self is all her own. Her experiences refine that definition each day. Pride Month, in particular, prompts her to think of how her queerness shapes her sense of self.
“I’ve always known that I’m queer,” asserts Anita. “I like to say that I'm queer because I have a lot more emotional fulfillment when I date girls versus guys. I feel that bisexuality implies a 50/50 split in people who aren't understanding of queer culture.”
Labels can provide a sense of completion for LGBTQ+ individuals who had spent their lives thus far trying to name the feelings inside of them. For Anita, the umbrella term “queer” is most comfortable. Because of the fluidity of the term, she can dodge unwanted assumptions about her sexuality.
“Sometimes you default to what other people assume you are until you're either concretely dating someone that is a guy or a girl. That’s really annoying to me. One, I wish people just didn't default to that,” Anita elaborates. “Two, it's like you're expected to like prove your sexuality with someone else and it's not really about that person. It's about who I am.”
Keep up with Anita's next venture through her Instagram and support her venue, Topology!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
collective blue's mission is to help diverse creators get their work out into the world and get paid fairly.
Dig what we do?
Support us by copping a collective blue cap for $25.