In an hour-long show that captivated the audience from the very first moment, Kit Yan, a slam poet from New York shared a part of their story spanning a decade’s worth of emotions and experience. Titled as Queer Heartache, Yan’s poetry collection was adapted into a one-person show, bringing forth important topics, like gender identity and fluidity, masculinity and being trans, navigating the medical community, and the language barrier between parent and child. Despite these often grave topics, Yan did not hesitate to crack jokes, even at their own expense, easing the tension before bringing it back with greater intensity.
The show felt like a whirl-wind of emotions for me. While I did not relate to every story that Yan performed, I couldn’t help but feel as though as I was meant to be there. Even though Yan’s stories were so personal, so ingrained with their specific life story, I felt as if it were all universal — that every queer and/or trans individual, every Asian American could in some manner, relate to a part of Yan’s story. I felt feelings that I had personally been pretending didn’t exist.
I teared up at Yan’s sadness for the language barrier between them and their mother, a story that closely echoed my own. Kit Yan just bared their soul to an audience of people they didn’t know, to me, one of those unknown people. And in that process, I recognized things within them in myself. Later that night, I fell asleep knowing that I wasn’t as alone in the world as I had thought.
It is people like Yan who make a change in the world. While politicians may decide on the laws that dictate our actions, it is people like Yan, who share their story bravely, publicly, who make a change. By being an icon and public speaker, Yan brings awareness of the queer, trans, and Asian American community where every they go. They bring to the forefront these identities and their intersectionalities. But just as importantly, Yan’s work helps other queer, trans and Asian American individuals feel validated for their identities. When one doesn’t have a supportive community, or a community that accepts them for all their identities, the feelings of isolation can be overwhelming.
For me especially, just knowing that there is someone out there who has gone through some of the same things that I have, has felt the same things as I do, makes the world seem a little bit less scary.