MN: One cast member on Transcendent struggles using the correct language when describing her gender and sexuality. Can you relate?
Bionka: I think everyone’s journey is different and certain people take their time with how they choose to identify with the trans-community. Once I transitioned, I knew for sure that I am a woman and in no way do I consider myself homosexual. I do hang out and party with friends who are homosexuals, however, I don’t consider myself one. I label myself as a heterosexual. Although I may have transcended from participating sexually in that lifestyle, I don’t use the pronouns that would link me to homosexuality. I think the language people use on a regular basis is connected to who they spend the most time with. It is also based on the social class you identify with as well.
MN: How did you start your career at Asia SF?
Bionka: I moved to San Francisco and needed a part-time job. Interestingly enough, Asia SF was three blocks away from my day job and I knew a girl that worked there. She told me I should stop by since they were looking for entertainers. Prior to that, I heard Asia SF was an elite establishment where only the best of the best performed. I landed an audition and just knew the job would be mine. For my audition, I did a seven-minute Cheryl Lynn number and floored the choreographer. I received the position at Asia SF and have been there a total of 14 years. They’ve been open for 17 years, so I have been there since their earlier days.
MN: Tell us about your work with the community.
Bionka: I began working in the social services industry in 2002 at San Francisco’s City Of Refuge. I worked as an outreach worker who served as an outlet for those in the LGBTQ community. I informed them of the resources available to them; eventually I got promoted to pair leader and then case manager. I had a case load of 40 HIV-positive trans-African American clients. During my time there, I became an advocate for treatment and prevention access. I was also able to teach our clients about the life cycle of HIV. Besides that, I worked with transgender youths and taught them about their resources and rights.
Catch Bionka on Transcendent on FUSE September 30 at 11:30 pm.