LANG Is a Love Letter to Self-Discovery and to the LGBTQ+ Community

LANG Is a Love Letter to Self-Discovery and to the LGBTQ+ Community

By Zarah Cheng

Journeys of self-discovery come in many shapes and forms. For some, it can be a fairly simple and straightforward process and for others, it can be a lengthy and nuanced one. For LANG founder Kayla Wong, her journey is still an ongoing one, and one that she is proud to share and continue flourishing with. 

Kayla grew up in Hong Kong, a relatively conservative country when compared to the US, where she eventually relocated to for studies. It was in LA where she was able to embrace her sexuality and felt most comfortable in her own skin. “It was a liberating experience to be surrounded by peers who were openly exploring their sexuality as well. It was in LA where I attended my first Pride event and was able to feel a strong sense of community and belonging,” she recalls. 

When she eventually came out to her parents, the timing happened naturally. “I didn’t have my ‘coming out’ experience with my parents until the third year I was in college. It was an opportunity that presented itself and a moment that felt right,” she remembers. As many of those who have themselves gone through the process of coming out, they’ll know that each circumstance is different and even those closest to us may need time and space to accept it in their own way. “I was lucky enough to have friends and people around me that were already supportive of me being truly myself, so although it took some time for my mom to come around, I am grateful that I had a better situation than most of my peers back in Hong Kong,” Kayla tells us.


Today, there is a cultural shift surrounding the discourse of whether “coming out” is still necessary or not but for many queer individuals coming to terms with their sexuality for the first time, it invariably is a necessity and an experience that can be daunting. Reflecting on her own experience, Kayla looks back at how lucky she was with the support that she felt and how it shaped her. “I think my biggest takeaway is that family support is everything. I felt very safe with my coming out experience to the public knowing that my family fully supported me. I’ve seen as well in other peers the difference it can make with someone feeling whole,” Kayla shares. 

“Although I have to emphasize that every individual’s experience is different, I find having a good support system whether it be a chosen family or blood, can greatly help someone feel loved and seen,” she stresses. She also acknowledges that as a queer Chinese-American, there are inevitably cultural nuances that are a part of coming out: “I understand that for a lot of Asian folks, getting the family to come around can be the hardest part. My advice with that is to be patient, open and honest.” 


After graduation, Kayla moved back to Hong Kong where she was confronted with a very different reality – one in which her queerness was not openly accepted within society in the same way that she experienced in America. “I was really comfortable with who I was by the time I returned back to HK from LA. I had already come out to my parents and although they took some time in the beginning, they both accepted what I wanted out of my love life. I think because of that, I was a lot more open and was not afraid to celebrate or be ‘loud’ about it,” she says with admiration. “However because I was in the public eye, there was a part of me that still felt like I needed to play a part in order to protect my family's reputation.” 

From there, Kayla was propelled into LGBTQ+ advocacy in Hong Kong where she was able to rediscover her identity with a very different cultural lens and stand with her community in a way that was and still is comparatively unprecedented in Asia.


“I think in a culture where we are taught to be timid and reserved, it was probably the biggest challenge to get the community to be vulnerable with each other,” Kayla explains. “There was a point in time where I started a support group, however I failed to really get it going because of the lack of willingness to share.” 

When diving deeper into the concept of media representation, Kayla touches on a point that resonates with many queer millennials who grew up in the ‘90s and early aughts. “Growing up I didn’t really see a lot of representation from the LGBTQ+ community so when I was younger, for the most part, being with someone of the same sex seemed wrong or something that needed to be hidden,” she recollects. “After I came out to the public, I realized that I had an opportunity to use my platform and my voice to share my experience so that maybe other people wouldn’t feel so alone. Being a part of a lot of panels and discussions with corporate companies also gave me hope that the city was moving in the right direction at the time.” 


Moving back to Los Angeles in 2023 as a married queer woman and as an Asian American, Kayla launched LANG in hopes of bringing together the many dimensions of her identity and culture. At its core, LANG is a love letter to her community. From its mission to support Asian designers and creators, to its celebration of both AAPI identity and queer culture, LANG is a space that celebrates the complexities of selfhood. 

“I think creativity allows exploration to thrive. I also believe that we never stop evolving as human beings,” Kayla explains fondly. “I am constantly learning more about myself and I am hoping that as I continue this journey of self that I am able to use LANG as a platform of reflection and that anyone that comes through our doors feel like they can be completely themselves and to feel free to explore who they are or want to be – whether it be through fashion or art or anything else creative!” 

Every journey looks different. Every journey feels different. But as Kayla herself and the LANG team have and are continuing to discover, the journey is fun as hell and we look forward to sharing ours with our community today and everyday.