Yanyi

Interviewed By Zef Lisowski

Yanyi, a poet and software engineer, reflects on his experiences being part of and building many forms of community, including Asian American community, queer/trans community, and neighborhood communities. Born in China, he immigrated with his family to Canada (and then to the US) as a small child, and has lived in New York City for six years. Here, he talks through the many ways that, throughout his life, he has valued finding and creating communities and systems of support while developing his own sense of identity and dealing with the legacy of intergenerational trauma. (Summary by Jamie Magyar.)

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Brooklyn (00:36)
gender identity (00:51)
trans man (00:55)
genderqueer (00:57)
transmasculine (01:34)
China (01:47)
childhood (01:52)
immigration (02:17)
Canada (02:25)
dad (02:51)
mom (03:01)
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computers (15:50)
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Asian American Writers' Workshop (17:58)
Rami Karim (18:08)
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dim sum (19:23)
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social justice camp (20:52)
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queer movies (23:27)
internet (23:30)
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But I'm a Cheerleader (24:29)
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messaging board (34:02)
race (35:02)
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immigrant experience (36:09)
intergenerational trauma (36:33)
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college (01:26:53)
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Asian American Writers' Workshop (01:29:34)
Asian American spaces (01:30:40)
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Journey to the West (01:32:04)
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Brooklyn Botanic Garden (01:34:55)
intentionality (01:35:39)
friendship (01:38:56)
empathy (01:40:04)
friendship (01:41:28)
exercise (01:42:24)
trans friend (01:43:53)
astrology (01:45:09)
Aries (01:45:59)
personality tests (01:46:38)
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anxiety (01:47:12)
Asian American community (01:48:55)
Christmas (01:49:04)
writing (01:49:38)
editing (01:50:27)
Nat. Brut (01:50:42)
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Anomaly (01:52:25)
gatekeeping (01:53:15)
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computer science (02:03:02)
literature (02:03:32)
digital humanities (02:03:33)
tech industry (02:04:42)
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violence (02:20:25)
restroom (02:21:12)
masculinity (02:22:34)
taking up space (02:22:45)
healthcare (02:24:27)
Mount Sinai (02:24:55)
Apicha Community Health Center (02:24:57)
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center (02:25:14)
health insurance (02:25:33)
desires (02:29:15)
goals (02:29:54)

Transcript

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Interview Data

Date of Interview
June 11, 2017
Location of Interview
Lazy Ibis, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York
Place of birth
Ch-Ch-China
Occupations
Poet
Gender Pronouns
he/him
Birth Year
1991
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About This Collection

NYC Trans Oral History Project

NYPL's Community Oral History Project is teaming up with the NYC Trans Oral History Project to collect, preserve, and share oral histories from our city's transgender and gender non-conforming communities. 

We'll be training a community corps of interviewers to collect these largely undocumented oral histories in order to build a lasting and expansive archive on NYC transgender experiences.

About the NYC Trans Oral History Project:

We are a collective, community archive working to document transgender resistance and resilience in New York City. We work to confront the erasure of trans lives and to record diverse histories of gender as intersecting with race and racism, poverty, dis/ability, aging, housing migration, sexism, and the AIDS crisis. 

We are inspired by the public history activism of the ACT UP oral history project to build knowledge as a part of our anti-oppression work. We believe oral history is a powerful part of social justice work, and that building an alternative archive of transgender histories can transform our organizing for transgender liberation. 

You can listen to interviews, search interviews tags (like #genderfluidity #self-knowledge #gentrification and #queerfamily), and soon read transcripts. We hope the interviews and tags will preserve and proliferate new knowledges about trans and gender non-conforming experiences.

Content warning: Many of the interviews here include personal accounts of violence, sexual assault, abuse as children, or trauma.