Storytelling, StoryCorps, and Reflections

Through our partnership with StoryCorps, Dragon Fruit Project interviewers and storytellers have come together to share stories of love, struggle, identity, and activism. Check out some of our interviewer’s reflections on the experience, and hear about why they think storytelling is important!

Yifan Mai, Dragon Fruit Project Committee

“With these interviews, we got into some very personal, intimate stories — stories like coming out to family, finding the LGBT community, getting married. [I learned that] deep listening is important–the most important thing in these interviews is to be present and listen deeply to the storyteller and give them permission to tell the stories they want to tell. StoryCorps does a really good job of creating a space where magic happens.

“Stories give us a sense of connection and place. It’s cathartic to hear these stories and realize how many dreams and struggles we have in common. Listening and sharing stories is a way of affirming your identity — it’s a way of saying “this is who I am, and there are others like me.”

Kalani Valdez, Fall Intern

“Overall, I learned that although Cecilia and I come from two very different worlds—she being a 50-year-old Chinese migrant trans woman, and me being a 22-year-old gay man from Hawaii—we found that our stories had many things in common. We have both experienced rejection from our close relatives, we both struggle with estranged relationships with our fathers, and we now both work in LGBTQ justice circles.
“In my opinion, what can be gained from sharing and receiving stories is a stronger sense of community amongst LGBTQ members of all ages, from all backgrounds. Once we find commonalities in each others’ stories, we can relate to each others’ experiences. We begin to see the beauty in others who may not be so different from us.”

Alison Lin, Volunteer

“Queer parent role models are hard to find. Interviewing Crystal Jang about parenting was a pleasure. I’ve always thought that the decision to be a parent takes time and perspective, and for Crystal it was a over a two decade process! I was delighted to learn about how Crystal decided to and became a parent to her daughter Cami and how she and Syndey negotiate co-parenting as “hippie mom” and “immigrant mom”.

“At the same time, our interview highlighted how state structures discouraged and punished lesbians from parenting. I was surprised to learn that Crystal had to go into the closet in order to adopt, Cami. It was not long ago that many women were deemed unfit mothers because they were lesbian or single and therefore the state was able to take away their children. The activism that went on the reunite these moms and their kids was fierce. I can’t imagine having a child taken away because of my sexual orientation and I’m thankful for all the work Crystal and others did to change these practices.”