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Pride 2021: Fastronaut Alexandra Chan shares her story

At Fast, we believe in bringing your whole self to work. During Pride Month 2021, we’re celebrating our people by sharing their coming-out stories.

Alexandra Chan, Executive Assistant to CEO & COO at Fast

Alexandra Chan’s coming-out journey began with a post on Tumblr when she was in high school.

“I said, ‘I think I’m going to say it. I should say it. I’m bi,’” Chan said.

Chan received a few likes on the post, but an acquaintance at the time said, “I think you should take this down.” He later came out as gay.

“I think he was projecting a lot of either insecurity or fear of what I would face,” Chan said.

But Chan, who now identifies as pansexual, didn’t experience pushback. In fact, there wasn’t much acknowledgement, which surprised her.

“It was never a thing,” she said. “Even when I brought a girl to my prom, everyone was just like, ‘Oh, you're bringing your friend,’ and it was invalidating because everyone just continued to assume I was straight,” she said.

For years, Chan didn’t challenge that assumption.

“I wasn’t necessarily being dishonest with myself, but more so I just moved about life normally,” she said. “If I brought a girl around or if I kissed a girl, people would think I was just having fun.”

After college, Chan rebuilt her network of friends, creating a group of supportive and understanding people. No more explanations or judgment.

“I fostered my own group of friends who are all about whatever makes me happy,” she said.

But it was not until after joining Fast that Chan felt comfortable fully sharing who she is with people outside her tight-knit group. She joined in November 2020 as Executive Assistant to the CEO and COO at Fast.

“It’s the leadership being open, accepting, and supportive that helped me make the decision to do that,” she said.

Chan struggled with her sexuality from childhood.

“I remember feeling this burning sensation to say something,” she said. “But coming from an Asian-American household, with my parents being immigrants, that’s just not something widely accepted, even though in the Filipino culture, the community is huge. Southeast Asia has a huge LGBTQ community, but it’s still super taboo.”

Chan learned that firsthand, having family members who are part of the community. In each case, relatives reacted negatively, she recalled. Chan decided never to “come out” to her family.

“Later on, I decided I didn’t need to come out to anybody,” she said. “I could just be, and whoever rocked with me, decided to rock with me, and whoever fell off decided to fall off. After making that decision, I realized if I ever decided to bring someone who isn’t conventional around, I would just do it. If my family gets sad or cries, at least I’m being true to myself.”

In this journey, Chan’s biggest lesson has been to do what makes you happy.

“I realized that nothing is black and white,” she said. “I realized that when you look at situations from a bird’s-eye view, you tend to see that nothing is inherently good or bad, or right or wrong. So do what makes you happy and what aligns with your path. I fought my path so hard, and I experienced roadblocks, mental, emotional, spiritual. Once I ignored the noise and focused on my goals and what makes me happy, things ended up aligning. When you follow your happiness, that's you connecting to your higher self.”

For people struggling to come out, they should do whatever works for them to get by, Chan said.

“You don’t have to come out, you don’t have to do any of that,” she said. “I don't think there's a right or wrong way.”

And Chan’s advice to people who are struggling after coming out: “Just keep moving.”

“The most growth happens when you’re uncomfortable,” she said. “In that process, I was able to find myself. Everything always gets better. You just have to keep going. It doesn't matter if we're going at a snail’s pace, as long as you keep going, you're going to get there.”