This is the sixth 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.
Preparing for Queer Beauty: In Process from the Inside Out
“I like this one especially because it looks like I have buck teeth,” I said giggling in bed with my partner, Mirah. They looked at me amused as I showed them the photo gallery from my longer photoshoot for my rebrand.
Mirah is a COO of their own marketing company and I wanted to get their expert opinion on which shots to include for the website and which to throw out.
“Why would you want to look like you have buck teeth?” They inquired, chuckling.
“I want to show how I look preparing. For giving a speech. For singing. Really, anything that makes other queer PoC nervous. I want to show them how to have fun with the process. And who cares, if it seems embarrassing? I think it’s good to see that.”
After I had my first mini-photoshoot with Matthew last month, I realized that I didn’t feel like myself. In the femmed-out clothes and shoes I had chosen and the heavier make up I had worn. But also, I really felt something akin to how Elliot Page described in Time this week. I was dissociated from my own body because of still trying to recreate what a supposed “normal woman” looked like.
This dissociation or dysphoria was similar to when Page saw himself in photos or on screen. Especially when in the more feminine roles. When Page started doing X-Men films he said he was suffering from “depression, anxiety and panic attacks.” “He didn’t know, he says, ‘how to explain to people that even though [I was] an actor, just putting on a T-shirt cut for a woman would make me so unwell.’
Although I don’t identify as trans, I have been sharing how my queerness and shifting gender expression. Makes it so, similar to Page, I have really had to challenge expectations of how to appear. And parallel to Elliot Page, to confront gendered stereotypes so I can choose to live outside of them. So far, it’s been trial and error. And this photoshoot has been a good way to transition how I feel in my body as a newly out queer / gay woman. From my closeted self whose expression was more status-quo feminine or femme. To an out queer self who uses self-care, somatic exercises, meditation, visualization, and affirmation. So I can SHOW UP. And be myself, exactly HOW and WHO I am NOW.
I am generating who I feel myself to be from the inside out. I want to feel my queer beauty in process. And be okay with these in-between spaces. And not like I have to wear, as Page said a gendered or woman “costume” to be me.
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.