CameroonIdentityLGBTQStorytellingWelcoming Week 2022

This is what I want, To Be Who I Am

Franke Tokam-Powell was born in Douala, Cameroon. As a quiet effeminate boy, he always felt he did not fit in so, when he got the chance to go to college in Ukraine,   he left for a new country and culture. He joined a band as their lead singer and, together, the musicians performed around Ukraine and eventually took a year off school to perform in China. Later, as a graduate student in Seoul, South Korea, he met his husband. The couple lives in the Portland area, where Franke works as a data analyst. He recently returned to see his family in Cameroon for the first time since leaving 17 years ago. 

The Immigrant Story Live, a production of the award-winning non-profit The Immigrant Story, took center stage on Saturday, September 10, 2022, at the Alex L. Parks Performing Arts Center in Jesuit High School, Beaverton, Oregon.

Organized as part of Beaverton’s Welcoming Week and generously supported by the City of Beaverton, the program showcased remarkable first-person narratives of courage and resilience.

Additional funding for The Immigrant Story Live was generously provided by the Oregon Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


One thought on “This is what I want, To Be Who I Am

  1. A tender, brave, beautiful story. It touches my heart. It reminds me of a man who looks like Franke–or did, in 1992. Bill T. Jones, the brilliant choreographer, met one of my classes. A student asked him, “How do you know if you’re on the right path?” He said, “When I tell the truth to everyone I meet, my path is clear.” Thank you, Franke.

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