Parallel lives and the dangers of conversion therapy told in new podcast ‘Dear Alana’

November 3, 2023
Simon Kent Fung, left, and Joyce Calvo, on Oct. 6, 2023. Fung's podcast about the parallels between his life and Calvo's daughter, Alana Chen, is called "Dear Alana."Simon Kent Fung, left, and Joyce Calvo, on Oct. 6, 2023. Fung's podcast about the parallels between his life and Calvo's daughter, Alana Chen, is called "Dear Alana."Rachel Estabrook/CPR News
Simon Kent Fung, left, and Joyce Calvo, on Oct. 6, 2023. Fung's podcast about the parallels between his life and Calvo's daughter, Alana Chen, is called "Dear Alana."

When Simon Kent Fung heard about Alana Chen, he started sobbing. They had never met and lived a thousand miles apart in different states. But Fung recognized so much about himself in her, as young, gay people and deeply devoted Catholics. Sadly, he only learned about Chen after her death by suicide in Boulder.

Over the next few years, Fung immersed himself in Chen's life story. He's gotten close to her mom, read her journals, interviewed her friends, and moved to Colorado. His new podcast, "Dear Alana," chronicles the parallels in their life stories, and why Chen's ended in tragedy. All of the podcast episodes are out now.

Fung and Joyce Calvo, Chen's mother, spoke with Colorado Matters senior host Ryan Warner about the project.