Photo credit: Karen Campos
What was it like growing up?
Growing up in white Edmonton as a brown gender queer kid was isolating. I was constantly reinforced that there was something abnormal about me.
How did you come out?
My experience of queerness hasn’t allowed for a definitive coming out moment. I have had to perpetually come out – to my friends, family, and co-workers. My shifting understanding of my own identities has involved perpetually coming out to myself – as bisexual, gay, queer, and a queer person of colour.
What has been your inspiration in life?
I am inspired by people who are passionate, who are devoted to working on being their best selves, who aren’t afraid of taking risks, who are able to seek out and experience joy. I am inspired by my mother, Beyoncé and queer & trans youth of colour.
What has been some of your greatest achievements?
My greatest achievement has been my perseverance as a human and as an artist. Everyday I have lived past 16 years old, and have dreamed of another day, feels like an accomplishment. Every art project I have made feels like a success, despite my own insecurities and an innate understanding of my limitations, despite not being formally trained in the arts, despite being told that I can’t be successful as a brown musician in Canada, despite being continually rejected by funding bodies.
I have dedicated most of my adult life trying to create and provide the kinds of resources and supports I didn’t have growing up, so I feel especially moved when a queer youth connects to my work.
What is your message to the world?
There is nothing wrong with who you are and who you are should be celebrated.
Vivek Shraya is a Toronto-based artist working in the media of music, performance, literature and film. For more information on Vivek check out his website at: http://vivekshraya.com.