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Drag Race Winner Nymphia Wind releases new book chapter, calling for more open conversations about mental health during AAPI Heritage Month

BY: Trevor News
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Nymphia Wind, the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16, released a chapter of her book Breaking Wind, The Art of Letting Go in collaboration with The Trevor Project. While the book that was dreamt up by Nymphia as part of a Drag Race challenge is fictitious, Nymphia’s reflections on her own mental health as a queer member of the AAPI community are very real.

Read Nymphia’s latest chapter, written in collaboration with The Trevor Project, below.


A special chapter of Breaking Wind: The Art of Letting Go, written in honor of AAPI Heritage Month 2024

By: Nymphia Wind

The conversation around mental health in Asian countries is very different than in the U.S. Growing up in Taiwan, mental health wasn’t discussed as much with friends or family, and the taboo nature of the topic could make people uncomfortable if it was brought up. Thankfully, things have evolved since then, more and more people in Taiwan are seeking psychological counseling to pursue balance between body, mind and soul.

I remember starting out in Taipei and getting to know the scene and making new friends, but coming up in drag takes a lot more than the average person would assume. They say we are our own worst critics; I was always hard on myself if I didn’t perform up to my own high standards, or if my look wasn’t perfect. Even moving to Brooklyn – where conversations around mental health are more common – there were moments when I would feel down and unsure of where I fit in my drag, Asian, or queer communities.

During those tough moments, it has always been important for me to lean on my chosen family. I have a dynamic group of people in my life, and I’m lucky that they support me in my artistic expression and fashion – and for being who I am. The Trevor Project’s research shows that AAPI LGBTQ+ youth feel that race/ethnicity is important to who they are. The organization also found that AAPI LGBTQ+ youth who have social support from friends and access to LGBTQ-affirming spaces are less likely to experience negative mental health impacts.

It’s bananas how closely that research mirrors my own experiences, too. For me, it has really helped to form relationships with people who have similar identities and experiences, and to spend time within our communities. For instance, having close friends like Felicia Oh, a Taiwanese drag artist also located in NYC, has really helped my mental health. Friends like her have welcomed me with open arms, encouraged me, and have been there to talk through challenges we experience as we continue to navigate a high-octane and competitive industry together. There are some things that only another queer Asian drag artist would understand. 

Because of the pressure to do well in my career, I definitely have a bit of performance anxiety. Even after performing for years, sometimes I still get nervous before my shows. It doesn’t matter if I know my look is sickening, if I’m performing to my favorite song, or if the crowd’s energy is off the charts. I personally can’t stop intrusive thoughts and negative feelings, but I can choose how I navigate those moments for myself. 

Regardless of anyone’s identity, I always encourage more conversations around mental health. Take a note from us in The Werk Room, where you’ve seen us do brief check-ins with each other, resulting in warmth, hope, and love. 

I believe we should engage our friends and family more than we already do – talking about our mental health together should certainly be more common. It’s the only way we can bring our feelings out of the dark, talk about them, and help our friends and family when they’re down. 

<3 Nymphia Wind

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Donate to help The Trevor Project provide 24/7 crisis intervention services to LGBTQ+ young people

Read The Trevor Project’s research on the Mental Health and Well-Being of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) LGBTQ Youth

If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Get-Help, or by texting START to 678678.

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