David Ng has a truly impressive story. He identifies as a queer feminist, was born and raised in Vancouver in a Chinese Evangelical Christian family, and has been an activist since he was 14. In 2016 David was honoured with the Diversity and Inclusion Award by the City of Vancouver, so he’s the perfect person to chat about how communities can better embrace diversity and be more socially inclusive.
Tell us bit about who you are
I’m the outreach coordinator for Theatre for Living, and I’m the co-founder of an anti-racist, feminist, queer blog and media project, called Love Intersections that explores issues of queerness, gender, and diversity through sharing the stories of queer people of colour.
What inspired you to become an activist at 14?
When I was 14 I got involved with a group of young people who were doing work around sexual health and how gender stereotypes inform sexual behaviours. That was my first introduction into feminism and anti-oppression movements.
What does social inclusion & diversity mean to you?
It means honouring our history. For example, we can’t just say we’re a multicultural society and not acknowledge the history of colonialism in Canada and the racism towards Indigenous people.
What is it like to be you living in your community?
In terms of being a person of colour growing up in Vancouver, there are many ways that I feel other. I don’t own my condo right now, but just walking down the street with my skin colour, I am the housing crisis in people’s eyes. People think I’m taking housing away from the city because I’m Chinese. So the attitudes that I get when speaking about the housing crisis are often quite racist.
What do people say to you?
Things like “people like you are doing this,” or even “those Chinese people, oh but not like you.”
Can you tell us about some of the work you’re doing around reconciliation?
With Theatre for Living, a local theatre company I work with that focuses on interactive theatre that challenges perceptions and creates social change, I just finished working on a new production of šxʷʔam̓ət (home). It was a platform for dialogue about the behaviour changes that need to happen around the question, “what does reconciliation actually look and feel like between First Nations and non-First Nations people?”
Can you tell us a bit about Love Intersections?
This is an anti-racist, feminist, queer blog and media project which explores diversity issues and pieces that inform our experiences. It tries to engage on topics like racism in a way that is accessible and also tries to build community rather than barriers.
How has Vancity impacted the work that you do and in what way?
Vancity is a known supporter of grassroots community work. I do a lot of work at the Vancity Simon Fraser University Community Engagement office who, with the help of Vancity, has built a deep network in the community.
How do you think that people can be a little more inclusive in their own lives?
It sounds cheesy, but I think that there are many ways we can just be a little more empathetic and less judgmental. I know that gay men have a stereotype of being very judgmental, and it’s something that I think the community needs to work on, but I think many other communities have these attitudes as well. If we would be slightly less judgmental and leave a little more breathing space and space for the people that we encounter I think we’d just be much happier.