Cover Story

Dina Johnson: Lezbhonest Dragon Boat Team

By JP Emerson

Please tell us about yourself.

My name is Dina Johnson. I use she/her pronouns. I immigrated to America as a refugee in 1986 from Laos. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I identify as a lesbian. My journey has been enriched by the experience of being a mother to two wonderful children. Professionally, I work at UCSD Jacob Medical Center in La Jolla as an instrument coordinator for the operating room. Additionally, I am the founder of the Lezbhonest dragon boat team, a queer women team that celebrates diversity and athleticism.

Please tell us what Dragon Boat racing is all about.

Dragon boat racing is a water sport that originated in China over 2,000 years ago. It’s a canoe boat similar to outrigger boat. A dragon boat consists of 22 team members, with 20 paddlers in pairs facing toward the bow of the boat, a drummer facing toward the paddlers, and a steerer standing at the rear. Races are typically either 250 meters or 500 meters. Our race normally last about a minute and 20 second.

Can you talk about the importance of being a Queer Woman’s team?

Being part of a Queer Women’s team can provide a sense of belonging, support, and empowerment. It creates a safe space where members can share experiences, challenges, and triumphs without fear of judgment or discrimination. Additionally, such teams foster community building, activism, and advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights and visibility. Through solidarity and mutual understanding, Queer Women’s teams play a vital role in promoting inclusivity and diversity within society.

Please explain the importance of LGBTQ+ visibility in the AAPI community.

Highlighting LGBTQ+ visibility within the AAPI community is crucial for fostering inclusivity, acceptance, and understanding. By showcasing diverse experiences, we honor the rich tapestry of identities within the AAPI spectrum and pave the way for a more equitable and supportive society. By paving the way for the next generation, we ensure that they grow up knowing it’s okay to be queer and that there are supportive communities ready to embrace them for who they are.

What events are coming up for people to join?

Alliance San Diego boat festival May 18, 2024, 9 am-5pm

Lao boat festival September 21, 2024

San Diego International Dragon Boat Race October 20, 2024

Shefest July 13, 2024

Team fundraiser July 14 at gossip grill 3pm-6pm

San Diego pride contingent   July 20

Black Tie event November 3, 2024, at The Rail our charity event

How can people connect with the team?

Instagram: Lezbhonest619


Facebook: Lezbhonest dragon boat team