Christian / Canada
“My life journey as a cis-queer Asian settler living with HIV has been one like the lotus flower. As a child who was bullied in Hong Kong and later as an immigrant in the USA, my roots were immersed in experiences of homophobia and xenophobia. As I grew, my eagerness to find acceptance and someone to love was like the lotus stem which could barely wait to rise above the water to see the sun. Much like the young lotus which is submerged in muddy waters, I used substances for a number of years to cope with the shame felt as a young adult diagnosed with HIV and later Hepatitis C. My life changed when I slowly became involved with the HIV community, first as a volunteer, then later as an activist. Much like the lotus flower that is bloomed out of the mud, my life experiences and challenges have made me who I am today. Today, I am a registered social worker, a community builder and researcher serving Asians living with HIV and folks who use substances.
Thank you and In solidarity,