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Articles / Majors & Careers / Nothing's More Liberating Than Being Able To Express Myself

Nothing's More Liberating Than Being Able To Express Myself

Written by | June 8, 2021

A Software Engineer Defies Social Norms and Pursues Creative Outlets

"I definitely do feel like computer science is lacking diversity...I'm more than just a black queer person. I'm also an ally to many, and an ally to really all."

Watch the video and read the full transcript below

"Being a black queer person in America is tough in and of itself. It's very daunting, especially in the political climate that we're in right now.

Hi, my name is Devohne and I'm from Port St. Lucie, Florida.

So right now I am a software developer. I'm a system administrator within the computer science field at Salesforce. I was born into a fairly small house. My immediate family was four of us. Me and my mom were super close. We've developed, like, a beautiful transition from a child and parent relationship to an adult and parent relationship.

My relationship with my dad wasn't so great. It was rough growing up because I was a little more feminine with my personality and mannerisms. With him being very religious, it was a little bit difficult for us to fully bond. It's just really hard to maintain a relationship with him because we just don't really see eye-to-eye on a lot of things."

Can you share a challenge you’ve faced and how it shaped you?

"There's a thing called imposter syndrome. You feel you're doing it, you know what you're doing, but you don't ever feel like you're in the right place or you don't ever feel like you're doing the right thing just because you don't have that formality, right?

That's just so hard, to feel you belong or feel you're a part of that community or feel you're a part of that industry. So that's something that also worries me and I struggle with a little bit. But being able to see other people who have done it, who have successfully overcome that barrier, I think that that will help me to shut up that imposter syndrome and be able to overcome it.

I definitely do feel like computer science is lacking diversity in every aspect, in every way. As who I am, I'm more than just a black queer person. I'm also an ally to many and an ally to really all, we're lacking in black people we're lacking in women. We're lacking in queer people. We're lacking in people who don't have a clean background, we are lacking in people who don't have the educational background. There's so much talent, there's so much wealth. There's so much knowledge in people who don't have your traditional look.

I'm hopeful that with the way that the world is changing and with the way that millennials are acting, like, go millennials! [LAUGH] We're changing that and we're going to be making it a much more broad spectrum of people who occupy the computer science industry."

What keeps you motivated?

"So a big part of me and who I am is being the unexpected. [LAUGH] I like to push societal norms. As you'll see by my hair, I don't look like I said, a cookie cutter black guy, I guess you could say.

I also am a gender non-binary person, so clothing norms either. I wear what I wanna wear and no one's gonna tell me otherwise. So I do perform as a drag performer or female impersonator from time to time. It's an art outlet for me. It's an expressive outlet. I like to just express my passions through dance and music. I'll try to bring light to something that is bigger than me. I'll try to release the inner thoughts or the ways that people wanna feel but they don't necessarily have the confidence to do that's what I aim to do in my performances.

I think it's super important to have that outlet, or just any type of outlet in general, because a lot of times, people, especially in the LGBTQ community, we feel weighed down by societal norms.

It's very difficult to just live your life and express yourself in the daily day-to-day life. And so having those few moments where you feel you can truly just be yourself and express who you are. It's just wonderful. It's so liberating and it's so freeing that for that moment in time. For that time that you're able to express that, you feel weightless, you feel the world is just there. You don't feel any pressure as a society or anything like that.

And that's huge for a lot of people. Because those pressures that a lot of people feel and those pressures that you go through cause a lot of mental illnesses and a lot of different ailments that people have to deal with. And so, I just think if everyone were able to express those norms or express those inner creativity and things like that, they will be able to live a happier life and just live a more wholesome life. It's just really awesome to see how art and creativity can be expressed in so many different ways."

Want to see more inspiring videos with real student stories?

Saba, Fort Worth, TX

It Took Time To Feel Proud of Who I Am

For Saba, accepting herself and her heritage was an important step to reach her goals.

"It took time to get to this point...where I'm finally getting accepted to colleges and seeing the scholarships, it took time. Did I ever think it was gonna happen? No, because I grew up with many insecurities with many, many changes in my life."

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