May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. I hope you’ll join me in signing the AAPI Visibility Pledge to support Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.After launching my second podcast, Companies That Care, I’ve started alternating each week. This week I interview Christine Carino,
Publish Date: May 10, 2021
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May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. I hope you’ll join me in signing the AAPI Visibility Pledge to support Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.After launching my second podcast, Companies That Care, I’ve started alternating each week. This week I interview Christine Carino, a queer nonbinary immigrant from the Philippines. Her grit and resilience story led to her life’s work with underrepresented groups and communities as a transformation coach and consultant. Born and raised in the Philippines, Christine had to navigate a religious, patriarchal society. Christine became aware of her place as a woman at an early age, having to always give way to her brothers. She remembers having her first girl crush in fourth grade. “I was attracted to my best friend at that time, and I didn't know what it was because no one explained it to me. There was no representation on TV."Any curiosity or exploration of this same-sex attraction was shut down, and the comment that made the biggest impact was when a family member told her, “Please do not tell me that you're gay.”After that, Christine did everything in her power to present femme, or more feminine, trying to make herself straight until she fell in love in college. She was outed by her conservative Christian aunt and uncle, who sent her to conversion therapy. She felt more shame and guilt about her identity. “I was very spiritual growing up. I've always believed in a higher power that was taking care of me…so hearing that this higher being doesn't love me because of who I am was painful…why would a God that speaks of love be unable to accept someone like me?”Soon after the conversion therapy and she had graduated from college, Christine moved to New York with her mom and brother. “Moving here as an immigrant and starting from scratch was definitely an experience.”Moving to the United States felt like starting over. She had only $100 to her name when she moved to New York. I interviewed Christine before the Atlanta shootings that targeted Asian-Americans, but Asian-American hate crimes were still on the rise. I asked her about what it’s like being a Filipino immigrant. She admits it’s been difficult, but she also has had to unlearn anti-Blackness and colorism that she learned as a child.“I'm darker skinned, and I was always compared to my sister who was lighter skinned…she's considered the prettier one.”Christine didn’t understand how systemic colorism was until she came to the United States. She realizes that as an Asian-American, she has certain privileges compared to her Black counterparts. “There are challenges and struggles, but I can acknowledge that there's deeper and more violent struggles and challenges towards the black community.”I asked Christine about being nonbinary. It is how she transcends beyond gender social constructs. “I don't want to follow any rules...Masculine roles need to look vulnerable, loving, kind, compassionate, and female roles can look courageous and assertive and be fierce and powerful.”Christine uses the pronouns she, her, and siya (pronounced sha), a gender-neutral pronoun in Tagalog.As a transformation coach with Conscious Thrive, Christine helps underrepresented executives and leaders to reconnect with their authentic selves so they can live and lead consciously and create impact on their own terms. Next week I interview Ozzie Gonzalez on the Companies That Care podcast. I used to work with Ozzie at CH2M HILL. Last year he was Portland’s first Latino candidate for mayor. We talked about what he’s doing now, Portland, Mexico, and sustainability.
So let's talk a little bit about you being la binary. You talk a little bit about that journey. Yeah. I'm actually I was very early like what I said, I rejected myself a lot. But now coming into terms to I don't want to follow any rules. Anyone's rules. You know, it's like as as a male or the masculine. I want that feminine energy and like masculine roles need to look like vulnerable, loving, kind, compassionate and female roles could look like courageous and assertive and fears and powerful and all these things and for me that's really now how I operate. But whenever I present masculine, I make sure that what attached to it is compassionate time and then vice versa. So it's really not the binary of what the society has taught us to be. I wanted to be on my own terms. So it's just fully embracing it because I've always had it. I was talking to someone else to about it and like the code switch for me, my code switch experiences presenting female all the time, and that was so exhausting to Yeah, it's like, oh my God, you know, I like to do this dress and look pretty, wear heels and do make up the goal. I love doing makeup and all that, but I don't always want to be female presenting all the time. So now I would wear male clothing with makeup and period, how old are you? I'm 31, I'm in my fifties. Seems like my observation is that a lot of younger people are really embracing the non binary gender and I think a lot of it is because they don't want to be boxed into one particular gender and I think it's really brave to be able to say like, you know, hey, I don't consider myself to be one or the other. So it's really great that young people are feeling the freedom to kind of claim who they are. You know, when I was your age, I wouldn't live. Wasn't even a possibility. So, Right. And let's talk a little bit about your pronouns. You explain before we started recording what your pronouns are. So my project, is she her or shot shot is basically a filipino pronoun for she or her. It's gender less. So I wanted to really use that because it represents me. It's non binary and also filipino. Yeah. And they're really as far as I know. I mean, it doesn't seem like there are very many non binary pronouns and other languages. No, I don't think so. I mean, it seems like they tend to be even more gender. Most languages are more gender than english. Even so that's beautiful. Yeah. And just thinking about it, it's actually, you know, because some of our language is influenced by the spanish language, you will still see that the pure ones that the dialogue would be gender neutral, which is great. That's really interesting. So let's talk a little bit about what you're doing with your life now. So I'm any transformation coach and consultant. As a coach. I help black, indigenous and people of color and LGBTQ plus executives and leaders to reconnect with their authentic selves so they can live and leave consciously and great impact on their own terms. And as a consultant, I help bring culture of transformation in corporate businesses by bringing back the human at the center of it. I wanted to tap into the heart so we can truly embody inclusion belonging at