Identity Perspectives: Dr. Selfa Chew


Identity Formation Interview


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Dr. Selfa Chew

Summary of Interview

The Person I am Interviewing is Dr. Selfa Chew about her gender identity and how she navigates the world as a gendered person. Dr. Chew mentions the environment that she grew up in and how it was intentional that conversations about gender and sexuality were beyond children. She talks about her proximity to queerness growing up and how she had gay relatives but the culture during that time was they existed without titles and how this can be a trauma response to how oppressive and violent society can be to queer people. Dr. Chew shares an experience of how an elder who had a parental role in her life was discriminatory to her child who is queer. She talks about the effects of internalized queerphobia and how they rejected/refused to acknowledge their own identity in some ways and project that on others continuing cycles of violence.

Minutes after being born is when Dr. Chew describes her introduction to gender. She describes the different gendered aspects of life that was given to her at birth like her name to the color of her clothes as well as other means of being socializing gender. She mentions the strong women figures in her life like her mother that showcased unconventional ways of expressing womanhood. However, the gender binary was still enforced in some aspects which prioritized cis-hetero-sexism.

Dr. Chew describes her gender as expending as times goes on. She said she found herself being conservative at the start. This changes as her circumstances change like moving to Mexico City. She specifically mentions a pivotal part of her journey where is free from her family and spaces that where abusive to her. From there she started reading theory and became a student of history. She’s thankful to have learned from lived experiences and from the struggles of many different marginalized groups of people and how they resist systems of oppression.

She expanded her knowledge of gender the most when her child disclosed that they are a transgender person at the age of 3. Her child later confirmed it later in life and she shares her experiences of what it’s like to raise a child of trans experience. She shares that she is angry about the current circumstances that many gender variant people experience while living in a society that was not built to support them.

Dr. Chew ends the interview by saying that she doesn’t see herself in a position to give advice because everybody has different conditions that relate to their experience but she extends her solidarity and community to those struggling with their gender identity

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