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Episode 58: Honoring Cultural Identity and Honoring Authentic Self with Jackson Wai Chung Tse 謝瑋聰


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About Jackson

Jackson Wai Chung Tse 謝瑋聰 (he/they) is an award-winning Hong Kong-Canadian interdisciplinary artist and facilitator based on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples, which include the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, also known as Vancouver, BC.


Jackson’s first film, Paul Wong: Breaking the Silence, premiered at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival and won the Silver Cup Prize at REC-Filmfestival Berlin. As a former MEC Ambassador (Canada's version of REI), Jackson founded the QTBIPOC Artists in Nature Collective, with whom he facilitates workshops to build community and capacity with some of the most underrepresented in the queer community (queer, trans, two-spirit folks who are also Black, Indigenous, or People of Colour).


In 2020, he was selected as the recipient of the LOUD Business LGBTQ+ Scholarship Award, one of fifteen filmmakers in the Vancouver International Film Festival's Catalyst Mentorship Program, and one of ten production trainees in Ryan Reynold’s Group Effort Initiative.


In 2021, Jackson is the winner of a $12,000 grant from the BC Arts Council, and will be mentored by the indomitable film director and writer, Karen Lam. Jackson continues to be an active and joyful cultivator of relationships and mindfulness. He dedicates his life to building community while reclaiming spiritual connection, beauty, and self-worth back from colonized ideas.


Courage Up Moment

He was at this crossroads of confronting the religion and community that he had grown up in and coming to terms with his sexuality plus studying something that he didn’t like, on top of being far away from home and the debt accumulating.

Ultimately there are two roads to choose. You choose to be authentic to yourself, potentially losing an entire community, or losing yourself. He chose to come out to his parents.

During his 3rd year at university, he had an opportunity to go to Singapore on an exchange. He saw this opportunity as a time to completely reinvent himself.


Showing Up As Who We Are

Living in integrity is so important to Jackson; being honest to himself and to the world is really important to him. Because he wasn’t doing that in his heart and faith, that was something that was misaligned and missing. Coming out allowed him to live in integrity.

The relationship with his family radically shifted and was challenging to navigate. The relationship with his community changed. He was really embedded in a Chinese Christian community, and no longer felt like he could go to church or Friday night fellowship or bible study.


Finding Community

Finding community continues to be an ongoing process for Jackson. In the 10 years since he’s come out, his relationship with his family has improved with his parents. His parents went to therapy and did the work. He’s been doing his own research learning about the cultural revolution and to be a refugee in Hong Kong, and to be an immigrant in Canada. They have forged a new path in their relationship.


A big community he has a found is in queer people of color. They share a specific understanding of honoring their cultural identity as well as honoring their authentic selves.


Following His Heart

The courage up moment of following his heart started this domino effect. Engineering is not where he wanted to be. He always loved musical theater. He decided to teach English and follow his heart in Georgia and Guadalupe. After pursuing the arts and loving it so much, he wanted to be closer to Liz who had just moved to Vancouver.

He continued to apply. He applied to a dance residency with the queer arts festival. Through the queer arts festival he got connected to other queer organizaitons. He had an opporutniy to make his first film through Troublemakers. It was a program where as an emerging artist you were paired with a senior artist. He was paired with Paul Wong. He followed him around with a mic and a camera and asked him a lot of questions. He created a short film from that.

He applied to Vancouver Fashion Week to be a model. He was chosen as a model!

Over 60K thousands of applications, Jackson was selected as one of 10 to be part of The Group Effort Initiative with Ryan Reynolds. He got to talk to Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively!


Final Thoughts

Despite the accolades, Jackson still has imposter syndrome. He has self doubts and still struggles with self-acceptance. It’s part of the process-loving oneself and loving each other. It’s important to take care and honor yourself in your down days too.


Advice:

A Teacher from Guadalupe wrote this in a letter to him. "Don’t expect people to understand all the choices you make. They won’t or can’t but they might in their own time. The most important thing is for you to be happy and proud of the direction you take."


Courage Song:

Teni Uyo Meyo


Book:

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron




Connect With Jackson

IG: @sonofjacky

Twitter: @sonofjacky Facebook: @sonofjacky

Youtube: @sonofjacky




Connect With Ming:

Instagram: @mingshelby

Facebook: Ming Shelby

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