by dimitri ivanor
in my house, the name that embraces me is a name that i no longer recall fondly. it is a name that was given in hopes of creating a better future for me than what my parents had: a future where my name appeared more european and less hindering towards my potential due to the backlash of racism. but how do you tell your parents that not only do you wish to go by a different name, you also wish for them to refer to you as another gender, and should expect for you to bring home partners that may resemble you in expression, but maybe not race.
my parents traveled through racist remarks and limited opportunities because of their names and the colour of their skin. but my parents do not understand trans. they do not understand my full identity; their main concern is that i grow into a life they never experienced—that is where our disconnect began.
and how do you confide in your parents about your romantic and sexual interests, when the language of your parents doesn’t fall off of your tongue as easily as the language that you were trained in since you first stepped into a classroom full of white students, white students who couldn’t understand why the english words didn’t make home in my mouth, and could never understand why my skin wasn’t as pale as theirs.
“i can count the number of queer people of colour i know on both hands. and queer asian people? i don’t even know.”
when i began my education, i was confused: why did NONE of the students look like me and why did they insist on relentlessly pointing this out? i also couldn’t understand why i got the same funny feelings for my peers no matter their gender.
i wouldn’t encounter someone who had these same funny feelings until sixth grade, and by some miracle, they were also asian. meeting this person helped open the doors i thought didn’t exist, and they are a huge contributor in shaping who i am today. they also help make up the small number of queer people of colour in my life. i can count the number of queer people of colour i know on both hands. and queer asian people? i don’t even know.
i didn’t start looking for other queer asians until my sophomore year. i couldn’t believe that anyone like me existed. everyone around me was white. they were all either really straight, or “indulged in homoerotic” tendencies. i didn’t have much to work with, i didn’t know where to start. but i wanted to find something, anything, that could help me. so i began the journey of navigating both my asian and queer identities- not as two separate claims, but in the hopes of bringing them together.
“i am proud to say that even though i do not continuously cry for rebellion, my existence is rebellious enough.”
i’m proud to say that i’m beginning to find my balance. i’ve poured over social media websites, events, and articles to connect with strangers through the web, to understand that who and what i am is not wrong. just because i am one thing does not mean i can’t be another. i am proud to say that even though i do not continuously cry for rebellion, my existence is rebellious enough. i am still learning this, but i am hoping that as i attempt to navigate through these means, other, younger people, are having a better time accessing their identities.
i hope not only for these youth to have better access to resources when attempting to understand their identities, but also meet or help whoever is in need, the same way i received help.
i received help by seeing older queer people of colour exist, at qsocc, oqys and more. i wish for more of these events to exist, to help shape what younger me didn’t have, for youth who need it now. it may have helped me understand earlier rather than later, but yaknow, as of yet i’m still experiencing this, still learning. and i couldn’t be more ready to explore.