Let’s get to know lifelong Hampton Roads resident and recently published author Shawnon Corprew! If you have attended our ‘Out in the Open’ storytelling events, you may recall Shawnon as she has shared her talents with the community. We hope to see her at next open mic night planned for August 30.
20 InQueeries with Shawnon Corprew
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Norfolk and raised in Chesapeake. I’ve lived in this area all my life!
What do you do for money/living?
I’m the Senior Proofreader for the Medicaid marketing department at Anthem.
How long have you been ‘out’ (if applicable) and who was the hardest person to tell?
I’ve been out to myself for 10 years, and the hardest person to tell was my dad, who I told last year.
Who is your LGBTQ hero and why?
My hero will always be my husband, Jay Corprew. He’s the strongest person I know, and really encouraged me to live my best life. He’s also a board member for the Transgender Assistance Program of Virginia. I’m forever thankful for him and the amazing things he continues to do in the community.
Is a picture worth a thousand words? Explain your answer.
It depends on the picture. If it has sentimental value, it’s probably boundless in words.
What is the most memorable LGBTQ moment of your life?
My most memorable moment was releasing my book, Where the Color Purple Grows: The Intersection of Loving and Fearing Black (Queer) Bodies: Collection I, which was released on June 19th of this year. Jay actually surprised me with my own book release party, which included a showcase and an interview! It was one of the best nights of my life.
(Editor’s Note: To purchase Shawnon’s book, click on the cover image (left) or on the title above.)
On what do you insist upon daily?
Live life on my own terms and speak my truth.
What was your last social media post?
I shared a post about therapy being essential to life. If you want to maintain healthy relationships, go to therapy. If you want to break toxic cycles, go to therapy, etc.
If you could give your 16 year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Never silence yourself for anyone and know your worth.
Do you have any suggestions for the local leaders of Hampton Roads’ LGBTQ organizations?
Inclusive spaces matter! In order for all of us to thrive, there must be safe and affirming spaces for those who are marginalized within our own community (bisexual/pansexual, transgender, people of color, etc.)
What is the best aspect of the Hampton Roads LGBTQ community?
There are some amazing people spearheading movements, and I’m happy to know at least a handful of them.
Name one thing you would change about the Hampton Roads LGBTQ community?
I’d like to see more events in the area that showcase our skills. The Transgender Day of Visibility event was so needed this year!
What LGBTQ stereotype annoys you the most?
The biphobic views are extremely annoying. I’m excited about Issa Rae addressing this on a future TV series.
What non-LGBTQ issue do you feel most passionate about?
Currently, the immigration issues.
What natural gift would you most like to possess?
I’d love to sing!
What quality do you most admire in a person?
Passion does it for me. It’s the fuel for a dream.
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Vulnerability is a big one. It’s what allowed me to realize that my voice should be heard, and I also saw the strength in it. So many people are guarded, and it’s always refreshing to see truth in a face.
What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck is so useful as any part of speech.
Why Hampton Roads?
This area is all I know. A lot of my family is here. I’ve also created a family here, and the love I have here is unforgettable. I also met my husband here, and Buckroe Beach will always hold a special place in my heart.
If you would like to meet Shawnon, she is going to be signing her book on September 8, 1-3 p.m. at the Book Exchange in Virginia Beach. Details are below.