Queer Careers – Curtis M. Wong, Journalist
This is the third installment in an ongoing series looking at Queer Careers. We want to speak to gay men who’ve carved out their own career path; to share their insights on how to get ahead in the workplace. We’re interested to know what it’s like to be gay, where they live, and where they work. This time, we speak to Curtis M. Wong, a journalist, based in the US.
What do you do?
“I’m the Senior Editor of HuffPost’s Queer Voices page, where I report, write, and edit multimedia content pertaining to the LGBTQ community.”
Have you always been out in the workplace, or did you sometimes pretend to be straight?
“I came out to friends when I was 19, and followed up with my family at 20. While I’m very much a private person, I’ve always been open about my sexuality in my professional life. Fortunately, I’ve never felt like I was discriminated against in any way in the workplace. I’m very grateful for that.”
Is the sexuality of a potential client, colleague, employer or employee important to you?
“Absolutely not. Those of us in the LGBTQ community wouldn’t be able to make strides toward equality without our allies. There’s a lot of strength to be found there.”
Would you consider yourself a gay entrepreneur?
“I’ve always wanted to use my writing to shine a light on social injustice and ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things. I’d like to think I’ve been successful in that regard. I feel very fortunate, but I don’t know if I’d classify myself as an entrepreneur in my own right. I’m lucky enough to be able to do what I do because of many, many people who came before, including a few personal mentors. Ultimately, I want my work to speak for itself.”
What are you most proud of in your career so far?
“I knew that I wanted to be a journalist from an early age, and although my career took a few detours into other industries along the way, I’m most proud of the fact that I stayed true to that vision, which brought me to where I am today.”
“I’ve always been very interested in the way that the queer community is represented in pop culture and the arts. So I’ve been honored and humbled to have gotten to interview some of my personal heroes, especially Madonna, whose music and performances have left an indelible imprint on my life.”
“One of the best things about working for a large news outlet, like HuffPost, is that I’m able to take stories that might exist only within a LGBTQ media space, and expand them for a larger audience. Interestingly, many of our readers do not identify as queer, and it’s been exciting for me to get those readers engaged in stories that focus on our community.”
Of the LGBTQ kids growing up today, who do you think are most likely to be gay icons and leaders of the future?
“The work that Jazz Jennings is doing on behalf of the transgender community is just incredible. She’s amazing. While they’re not exactly kids, I absolutely love Troye Sivan, Halsey and Sam Smith. To me, music is the most accessible art form and I would’ve benefited from being exposed to queer pop artists who were honest and upfront about their sexuality when I was growing up.”
From your own experience in the field, what advice would you give to budding young LGBTQ journalists?
“Be open to every opportunity to hone your craft, whether your interest is writing, editing, production or otherwise. Always bring your A-game, because tenacity pays off in spades. Be open to evolution, and don’t forget to have fun!”
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Enjoyed this story? Then be sure to read Queer Careers – Stephen McDermott, Designer.
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