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I'm Dr. Shannon Wong Lerner

I'm a multicultural coach & personal brand storyteller who brings full-service, high-level communication courses to diverse clientele. I can help you speak your way to success.

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Coming Out, Going Within: Queer Relationship Liberation and How to Deal at Work, My Convo with Dr. Daniel Coleman

My Closeted Self, and My Out Self

This is the sixteenth article of the series: “Coming Out, Going Within.” Published with LinkedIn Articles.

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.


Some of the biggest difficulties we have as diverse people rests in how we present ourselves and how we stand out or blend in. Standing beside your bestie at a work function as your date, might not make sense to others at your work. Because perhaps you’re so overworked at your job, you don’t have time for a relationship. Or perhaps, your significant relationship is not recognized to be significant by those around you. Because it doesn’t fit in with a heteronormative model, such as expectations for relationships to be defined by one man being with one woman. And homonormative model, which is two people of the same gender being together. So this article is also written for gender non-conforming people and/or when you have a GNC partner whom your workmates can’t place on a gender binary. Which has so often been the case for me. 

This month, I looked at the theme QUEER LOVE IS NOT JUST SEX partly because I wanted to highlight the conversation with Dr. Daniel about making our own way as QPoC in our relationships, which was so generative to me as a newly out queer person. But also, because I feel like as BIPoC, QPoC, as QWoC, and GNC people, we often feel we are “different” enough and so we should just go the way that society or social groups expect of us. And we don’t have the freedom to go our own way. I have to disagree! 

I have spent my entire life, especially being closeted for 20+ years feeling weird, awkward, or “off” and so I performed all sorts ways to not stick out. And it was really painful for me to have to track back my steps and ask myself, who am I really? And how do I stay present with myself enough to know what I really want? Not just as someone who is part of a couple. But also as a single. I’m still figuring that out.

When I spoke to Daniel and we talked freely about our relationships, and we spoke through these expectations, finding our authentic selves from being heterosexual-identified to queer, and Daniel to trans and non-binary and me to queer / gay and more androgynous presenting. We weren’t just talking about ourselves. Nor about who we were adjacent to someone else. We cracked open the possibilities, and really, Daniel did that for me. On how we can navigate the queer social world as QPoC who refuse to let our hearts be led by subliminal or unconscious or subconscious ideas of what love is, without thinking through, how these situations make us feel. Specifically as BIPoC queer people, and as people who either don’t identify as strictly male or female or don’t express our genders this way. And don’t see the roles we engage with our partners to be fixed in the same way. 

Daniel’s discussion of how he is doing relationships as polyamorous and now non-monogamous opened a lot of ideas up for me as well. I’m not interested in the heteronormative or homonormative timeline of dating, marriage, kids. I’m happy being true to myself and those around me to admit I’m in my queer infancy and adolescence. 

Some of the biggest stressors are felt by diverse people, including but not limited to BIPoC, QPoC, and GNC individuals, feeling as if we need to fit in. A lot of that pressure has to do with what we accomplish in life, but for queer people it has to do a lot with whom we’re standing next to. How many times have your heterosexual friends asked you about that “special someone” and focused on you “having the right to love whom you love.” When you were just trying to know who you were as a queer person?

I’m taking a stand! I suggest you do too! And, if my colleagues or work collabs don’t understand, why I don’t have a wifey on my arm–they’ll just have to get over it!

If you would like to catch Dr. Daniel’s episode this month, I streamed it on LinkedIn. The Intersection: Diverse Folx Converse always appears first as a premiere on YouTube. We will then give you a chance to stream the episode again on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook Intersection group.

Here is the original premiere link here, if you’d like to give it a look: YouTube

Here is the Anchor link for all of your favorite podcast platforms: Anchor


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BIO: As a longstanding multicultural coach & thought leader 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.

Dr. Shannon also works as a keynote speaker and provides trainings on a variety of different subjects between DEI and communication.

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 ConverseeFEMeral: Voice Matters, and Queer Home Meditation. 


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.

Dr. Shannon also offers her services for keynote speaking events, talks, and trainings. She speaks and trains on topics surrounding communication, public speaking, DEI, AAPI, BIPoC, and LGBTQIA+ individuals and communities.

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Photo of Dr. Shannon

I'm Dr. Shannon Wong Lerner

I'm a multicultural coach & personal brand storyteller who brings full-service, high-level communication courses to diverse clientele. I can help you speak your way to success.

Learn More

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