top of page
  • Writer's pictureShannon Wong Lerner, Ph.D.

My Other Coming Out Story: My heart has always been with performance

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

I came out publicly on my professional platforms, to my clients, and on LinkedIn just a month and a half ago in late June for PRIDE 2020. At the time, I felt as if I was walking on ground that hadn't been formed yet. With each step, I might trip and fall. And tumble like Alice down the rabbit's hole. Lost forever in an alternate world. But that's not what happened.

After I came out, a huge weight had been lifted. I have gained strength. Confidence. And I have dropped into myself by sharing my life story. I can now better teach my diverse clients how to do the same. I am becoming a resource for other BIPOC LGBTQIA+ clients to come forward and speak with their authentic voice.

Now I'm coming out about something else. My heart has always been with performance! And teaching diverse students or clients how to overcome their stage fright.

Voice. The stage. Diverse people taking risks. Being seen. And being heard. For the first time. Rather than shrinking in the face of sameness. I teach diverse professionals how to shine.

I teach diverse clients about speech. From writing speeches to delivery. Gestures. And stage or screen presence. I have coached diverse clients who were too nervous to give a speech for their families and friends for a wedding. And they ended up speaking at large benefit events. Or for TedTalk. How did I learn how to do this?

I have taken what I know from working as a stage performer to support my clients' confidence as speakers. I worked professionally as a jazz vocalist to help pay my way through grad school. Then I taught performance for almost a decade at universities, non-profits, and in corporate settings. I trained in operatic singing with Monifa Harris. And now, I am returning to the stage after almost 8 years of focusing on academic projects and my business.

My partner (Mirah V. Lucas) and I have been accepted to Pervers/Cité for our play, a collaboratively organized radical queer, trans & non-binary summer festival. We wrote and will read / rehearse our play about falling in love during a pandemic, "I Feel Bad that You Felt Bad / You Felt that I Feel Bad." Please join us! In Montréal, Qc + Online.

I take this experience as a performer. A jazz singer. A performance artist. And an opera singer. And every day, I get to teach or practice performance. With my background in voice and breath. And each time I work with a client.

I used to be terrified when I stood on stage to sing. I shook and was afraid only a squeak would come out. And not a mighty voice. But each time, even as I shook backstage. I showed up. And I let myself be seen. And I let myself be heard.

I now do the same as a biracial Asian queer / gay woman. And a diverse communication coach/consultant. I show up each day as ME. And I allow for my clients to do the same while reaching their goals as speakers and writers.

By allowing for myself to be vulnerable to share my gifts. I have beeb learning how to give love to other diverse people. And especially other BIPOC LGBTQIA+ professionals. And to express deep emotions to diverse people whom I had never even met. They are reciprocating! Each week, I receive referrals from BIPOC LGBTQIA+ professionals. I came out and ended up opening up my personal life to the professional. I do this as an act of self-care. But also so I can better serve others. I am growing stronger as a person. And as a communication coach/consultant. I can then pass this care on to my clients.

Contact Dr. Shannon Wong Lerner on LinkedIn or See her Website to learn more about her work with speech and communication and her work with diverse professionals and BIPOC LGBTQIA+ professionals:

If interested–See the information from Pervers/Cité for our play, a collaboratively organized radical queer, trans & non-binary summer festival.

August 30, Sunday 20:30 - 22:30

I Feel Bad that You Felt Bad / You Felt that I Feel Bad

"I Feel Bad that You Felt Bad / You Felt that I Feel Bad" is a scripted, experimental play rehearsal where two cute API queers enter a time warp brought about by a pandemic. Part theatre, part performance art, we share a reading and rehearsal mirroring our lives together while in quarantine. This play reflects how we gave into the ecstasy of new love while trying to maintain our equilibrium as individuals.

Here is Pervers/Cité website if you would like to check out the other events held the last two weeks of August! They are worth checking out and the festival is uniquely curated!

19 views0 comments
bottom of page