This is the seventh article of the series: “Coming Out, Going Within.” Published with LinkedIn Articles and Medium.
Learn More about “Coming Out, Going Within”: I think we can all agree that the queer / LGBTQIA+ community needs more resources for our self-healing and spirituality. And ways to communicate our lived experiences and truth. Coming Out, Going Within chronicles my journey toward self-love as a newly out bi-racial gay / queer woman. I share my day-to-day life not just as a personal journey, but also as a communication coach and cultural storyteller. I hope with this series, I can hold open a space for the LGBTQIA+ community–and all of my intersections as BIPoC, API, womxn, Jewish, and neurodivergent–to grow toward wholeness and success. Please join me in my storytelling, and feel free to share your own story in comments.
“No matter what, you will end up with some beautiful photos,” Matthew said to me on the phone before our shoot. There was no doubt the photos would be professional. Because of Matt’s skills. Right away, I resonated with Matt’s use of natural light, and his roots in documentary film. He was the perfect person for the photoshoot to capture me naturally, authentically.
But I also wanted to feel right. When taking the photos. And when looking at them. I wanted to look at the photos and SEE ME. In image. In gender and facial expression. And in body language. And in spirit.
“You seem much more comfortable” Matthew Gordon said for the second photoshoot.
And I was! Partly this was because of the positive masculinity I was choosing to replace the toxic masculinity in my life. And how before I realized I had been dressing and acting under the spell of what feminist film scholar Laura Mulvey calls, “The Male Gaze.” And I was working to be aware of and to get away from this foundation of toxic masculinity.
The Male Gaze is the theory that the way we consume images is determined by a patriarchal system. Where male heterosexual desire rules. And this makes men the active viewers of women. And the women–those who are looked at. And so women / womxn feel they have to superficially “perform” to suit the tastes of their male viewers. This can transpire through image or speech / sound.
SOUND FAMILIAR? How many times as women / womxn, have you felt you had to sound or gesture a certain way to suit the male gaze? And when we bring race and identification and orientation into this – how many times have you as a PoC, WoC, and QPoC and GNC individuals, had to give a shallow “performance” of speech and image. To conform with white, cis-gendered heterosexual comfort levels and power structures?
Dr. Shannon Wong Lerner portrait, Taken by Matthew Gordon
BIO: As a longstanding multicultural coach & personal brand storyteller who brings full-service, high-level communication courses to diverse clientele – Dr. Wong Lerner is a 🦄!
She has 20+ years of academic and industry experience.
Across several Fortune 500 companies, engineering and Ivy League universities, non-profit organizations, and U.S. and international government entities.
Her clients have remarkably high success rates as professionals, entrepreneurs, public speakers, and presenters.
As a queer API coach, she meets you from your unique starting place. To better support you as women, BIPOC, WOC, non-native speakers, nontraditional learners, allies, & LGBTQIA+ talent. Inclusive of genderqueer, non-binary, & trans individuals. Dr. Shannon specializes in helping her clients tell their coming out stories at their place of work and as business owners or public figures. She curates her content not just as an expert in her field. But as vulnerable and intimately bound to her topics, to open up spaces for others to speak as their authentic selves.
Dr. Shannon uses a whole-person, holistic method for all and any speaking situation that considers:
WHO you are
WHERE you come from
HOW you orient and identify
HOW you process information
and HOW you sound as a communicator.
So you don’t sound like a version of someone else. But you sound like a better version of yourself.
To help others with their personal brand storytelling to host your own podcast and write your own content to level up, attract new employers and clientele — she enjoys hosting: The Intersection: Diverse Folx Converse, eFEMeral: Voice Matters, and Queer Home Meditation.
**”Coming Out. Going Within” started as the LGBTQIA+ meditation project, Queer Home Meditation, as a private Facebook group airing on Facebook Live. Intermittently, QHM videos are shared to LinkedIn Events and YouTube.
Services: If you are interested in working with a communication coach who values and understands your lived experience, feel free to reach out on LinkedIn through DM. Speak Your Way to Success is Dr. Wong Lerner’s signature program that includes everything you need to become a better communicator in just 3 months. Learn public speaking, personal brand storytelling, intercultural communication, rhetoric and critical thinking, and gain many personal resources. The program is catered to your needs and individualized with supplementary materials and group support. We have spots available and are taking on new clients now.