AVERY NGUYEN is a 1st generation, Viet-American, gender fluid, queer young adult who has been volunteering with APIENC through our Dragon Fruit Project and trans justice work. They are inspired and supported by their family, their community, and their love of stories.
Avery began to think about organizing with queer and trans Asians and Pacific Islanders during their time at university. They worked at the campus queer space, and became the facilitator of the queer and trans people of color discussion group at their school, revitalizing the program.
“I really wanted to find other people who knew that we exist and who knew that we need to get together and make ourselves visible. Because I think that was keeping me distant from being more involved–not feeling like I identify in that space. And I didn’t know why, until I saw others like me that were doing the work.”
Within the group, Avery and others had the opportunity to organize events, fundraise, and also explore the nuances of language. They had many conversations about pronoun use, different conceptions of gender, and ways to humanize and respect others. These conversations were valuable, and have also pushed Avery to think more critically about the limitations of language, and how people in communities can push themselves to truly learn each other’s stories.
It was this passion for stories that drew Avery into our Dragon Fruit Project–“it is so invigorating to hear people reflect back on their lives. I’ve been in a lot of discussion spaces, and to hear people come to different revelations and conclusions, within a space of people eager to listen… there is a lot of value in that.”
When Avery moved back to San Francisco after university, they were looking for a community, and saw the value of working with other people of similar identities, who were strategically thinking about social change. Understanding their own identity as part of a Vietnamese immigrant family has been extremely important: “I’m trying to pick apart what being Asian means to me. It’s such a huge, monolithic term but at the same time I recognize that it’s very important to how I’m seen and treated in the world.”
Avery has many hopes for the LGBTQ API community, such as developing Asian community organizers to work with the Movement for Black Lives in America. They explained that this work is about “understanding how to relate to the movement in a way that is supportive, without derailing and without stealing the attention of what needs to change.”
Thank you for all of your work on the Dragon Fruit Project, and with our new initiatives, Avery!