A Nonbinary Engineer’s Journey to Self-Discovery > United States Navy > News Tales

Initially from Fountain Valley, California, Scientist Ori Duong graduated from the College of California, Riverside with a level in mechanical engineering.

Instantly after graduating in 2020, they joined the Naval Floor Warfare Heart (NSWC) Corona Division workforce as an engineer within the command’s Acquisition and Readiness Evaluation Division.

“As a little bit child who discovered army stuff cool, I wished to assist the army ultimately with out enlisting,” Duong stated. “I used to be all the time good at math and loved studying new issues, so I believed I may assist by doing engineering work for the army as an alternative.”

Whereas Duong was capable of set up their profession early, one of many issues they stated they’re nonetheless navigating is popping out as nonbinary. In keeping with Merriam-Webster, nonbinary is an adjective used to explain an individual who doesn’t determine solely or completely as a person or a girl.

“I’m nonetheless within the strategy of popping out,” Duong stated. “Lots of people should not conscious of what being nonbinary means, so it makes it tough to convey it up with out getting extra questions or complicated folks.”

Duong was assigned feminine at delivery. Their bodily transition began in 2023, however rising up, Duong stated they knew at a younger age that one thing was totally different.

“In elementary college I bear in mind not likely relating with being male or feminine,” they stated. “As soon as I acquired to center college I started attempting to drive myself to be extra female like different women round me, but when you must drive your self to be one thing, there’s already an issue.”

Duong stated they continued attempting to evolve to conventional gender roles till they’d an epiphany through the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Having extra time to self-reflect, Duong stated they realized they didn’t need to be seen as a specific gender.

“Being seen as feminine had an influence on my confidence ranges,” they stated. “I simply wished to cover and never speak to folks as a lot. I’d get upset at my household for calling me by my delivery title, regardless that I had not come out to them but. I used to be scared that if I did, they wouldn’t perceive.”

After becoming a member of LGBTQ+ teams and talking overtly to their associates about their gender, Duong mustered the boldness in late 2023 to return out to their co-workers as nonbinary transmasculine, as they’ve extra of a reference to masculinity, however don’t determine as a male or feminine. 

 “Becoming a member of the NSWC Corona LGBTQ+ worker useful resource group (ERG) has helped me with popping out, as a result of it has allowed me to be round others going by the identical factor. The ERG has offered me with folks to speak to, not nearly gender id, however different day-to-day matters as effectively,” they stated.

Whereas nonetheless navigating their journey, Duong stated taking the primary steps of popping out has allowed them to concentrate on being their genuine self.

“It has been tough translating and explaining to my Vietnamese household and others of our tradition the which means of nonbinary,” Duong stated. “Finally, I’ll come out to them totally, however as of proper now, I am nonetheless studying the way to talk it.”

Duong added their private experiences assist them to know and supply recommendation to others going by comparable conditions of self-discovery.

“It wasn’t simple for me to return out, however since I’ve, it has had a optimistic influence on my psychological well being and relationships with my family members,” Duong stated. “If there’s somebody on the market having a tough time popping out or feeling accepted, I recommend surrounding your self with likeminded communities or teams who can help and uplift you alongside your journey.”

NSWC Corona Division has offered evaluation and evaluation for the Navy since 1964. With expertise in gauging the Navy’s warfighting functionality, NSWC Corona is a pacesetter in NAVSEA information analytics. Corona makes use of networked information environments, information and visualization, and measurement know-how to bridge the Navy’s information silos, enabling knowledgeable decision-making for the warfighter. Anchor to the Inland Empire Tech Bridge, NSWC Corona is positioned in Norco, California, with detachments in Fallbrook and Seal Seaside and personnel in 14 extra areas.