Queer Finds Family

Cantonese opera ignites LGBTQ voices in Vancouver’s Chinatown – Kimberley Wong 

Editor’s note: To celebrate Pride Month and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, this column brings you three stories from queer and LGBT+ diasporic communities over the next three days, beginning with Kimberely Wong’s route back to the art of her grandfather, a master of Cantonese opera. – Rebecca Choong Wilkins

As I stood at the bottom of the stairs at the Wong’s Benevolent Association, I held a plant in one hand, my hand gripped tight to the grainy bottom of the pot, eyes interrogating the leaves, ensuring they were glossy and auspicious-looking. I wanted to make a good impression on the folks I would be meeting today. I had my notebook, with ‘Wong’ written on the front, in the other hand. I had asked my Dad and my Grandma, both born Wongs, to tell me the names of our ancestors and fellow Wong Chinese-Canadians, so that I could look them up in the manifestos and so that I could tell Uncle Tim Wong, the elder Wong historian, to whom I was related. In the scurry of looking through photos of my Yeh-Yeh, my paternal grandfather, we figured that he and Tim Wong must have been in Chinatown at around the same time, in the same social circles.