Tag Archives: lgbt

No Strikethrough

Last week I sat in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and came across an article about the controversial practice of re-evaluation counseling. The article talked about how this unlicensed form of counseling harmed public school students, many of whom felt coerced to attend sessions against their will. As I sat with my laptop out waiting to board my flight back home, this article reminded me of a crush I had a couple of years ago who told me that he went to re-evaluation counseling. Thinking about this guy’s issues, I wondered if he would have treated me better if he had instead seen a licensed therapist before talking with me. He had issues related to his immigrant parents, coming out at a later age than me, and placing his self-worth in external accomplishments. I felt curious about what factors precluded him from seeking therapy: financial barriers? Adherence to toxic masculinity? A lack of desire to grow and change?

This thought process reminded me of the many emotionally compromised queer men I have come into contact with through my dating life. Continue reading

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Filed under Personal, Society

Queer Asian Confidence

Sometimes I struggle to honor my strengths. I have pretty high self-compassion and self-esteem, I just don’t like acknowledging what I’m good at. For example, I’m starting my fourth year of training as a psychologist. In my most recent therapy evaluation, my supervisor commended my “ability to connect with clients and make them feel safe with [me].” She also wrote that I have “an intuitive approach that is bolstered by [a] strong theoretical orientation… influenced by a multicultural lens, feminist therapy, ACT and CBT, and interpersonal process,” as well as an openness and genuineness that helps clients feel connected to me. Though I recognize my clients’ growth, I still think: am I actually good at this?

Even though I can grow in honoring my strengths, I like my modesty a lot. I think it stems from Asian values of humility, as well as not wanting to be like other men who have an inflated sense of their abilities. Instead of searching for the spotlight, I can spend more time honing my empathy, social justice advocacy, and mentoring. Still, internalizing modesty to an extreme may have its downsides. My supervisor also wrote in her evaluation, “I think Thomas is always a bit surprised at the progress of his clients, as he sometimes doubts that he is a good, actually excellent, therapist. I encourage his humility, but also think he would benefit from receiving the fact that he is very skilled and capable.”

Upon reflecting about my supervisor’s comments for the past several weeks, I feel like a lot of my hesitancy to own my strengths stems from my queer Asian male identity. Continue reading

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Athletic, Kinda

“It sounds like you may be into athletic guys, too,” my therapist said a few weeks ago, as we talked about my attraction to men.

Over Therapy Portal, I gave her my signature skeptical look:

“Okay, let me explain,” she said. “You’re very athletic. You jog, you play tennis, so I wonder if you’d be looking for the same in someone else.”

After my therapist asked me this, I spent the next few weeks reflecting on my relationship with athleticism. Continue reading

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Racial Trauma, Asian Power

Today I got triggered when I learned that my most recent crush is dating a white man. Beforehand, because I have no chill whatsoever, I asked him outright over text if his boyfriend is white. I then texted my best friend “Bri if his boyfriend is white… I may ask for a literal 3 minutes during our [next] phone call for me to scream.”

Lo and behold, my queer person of color sense proved correct and he texted me back saying that yes, his boyfriend is white. On one hand, I could not have cared less, because men are irrelevant to my life and he can date whoever the heck he wants to and I had predicted this outcome with my closest friends anyway. And yet, after I got that text, I fell into such a funk; I felt sad and angry and disappointed all at once. Continue reading

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Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

Astrid Jones sends her love to strangers. She gives it away to passengers in the sky, because that’s the only way she’ll be free. Her demanding, over-controlling mother talks at her, her dad does crack, and her sister worries too much about her reputation to be of any help. Living in a small town has its downsides, and Astrid realizes just how damaging those downsides are when she finds herself falling in love – with a girl. Continue reading

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Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books

It Gets Better by Dan Savage and Terry Miller

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

The fact that this book exists makes me happy. It really does.

I know so many people who wish that there had been a book like It Gets Better when they were a teenager. Not just people who contributed to this book itself, but people I talk to in real life. Better late than never, right?

This book fulfills its purpose perfectly, as I am 100% convinced that it will, and it does, get better. While not superb in its structuring – there is a bit of redundancy and some of the stories are on the weaker side writing-wise – GLBT teenagers will easily relate to the trials and tribulations of growing up faced by the past generation.

I am forever grateful to Dan Savage and Terry Miller for editing this book and creating the inspiring and amazing It Gets Better Project. I hope one day as an adult to make a video myself and also write a book that will help the fight for GLBT rights.

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Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books