Asian Queer Archive
"I've always struggled with what the concept of "womanhood". It's not determined by gentiles. Nor balance of hormones, the abundance of dresses, length of hair, number of catcalls. Gender is flimsy, but I feel it at its most acute when I'm forced into some predetermined, hyper-rigid gender script. That's also why I refuse to inhabit "androgyny;" making myself more masc validate my nonbinaryness. My existence is already doing so. Let's queer up to queer experience."
"I currently identify as non-binary and demifemme. I identified as cis until the last two years or so, which have been an exploration period. I feel like my gender can be best described as femme + agender. That is what I feel like deep down. My presentation varies from high femme to mid-masc but there is no ounce of my soul that is masc, just ask any of my friends.
My oldest sister and her husband just had a baby. They asked me what I wanted to be called and instead of auntie or uncle, I chose pibbie. It's short for pibling, which means I am his parent's sibling. He is my chibling, or my sibling's child. Having them call me Pibbie J feels so validating. Every time my sisters say it, I feel seen. I am still working on my parents getting used to it but it just means the world to me that people close to me respect this part of me."
"I've been out as nonbinary for just over 3 years now, and over that time the way I explore my gender has shifted. When I first began realizing that I might not be cis, I had a lot of difficulty because I felt very comfortable in femme clothing and makeup as well as with my AFAB body. Since all the narratives I had been fed about trans people were about suffering and 'being born in the wrong body,' I felt I wasn't trans, and that there was just something wrong with me. However, as I found a community of other trans youth in my state and online, I began to realize that dysphoria wasn't a requirement to be trans - simply identifying as a gender other than the one you were assigned at birth was enough. I began to help moderate online communities dedicated to helping trans youth and educating their parents, as well as advocating for gender neutral bathrooms across my state. When I started college and moved away from my family, I began to explore masculine clothing and found that I felt as comfortable, if not more wearing all different types of clothing. I do still believe that being femme is an integral part of my identity aside from my gender, and I'm grateful to be able to continue to truly explore every facet of my identity."
Tenaya Lee Izu
“My name is Vian and I’m a gender fluid vietnamese person and my pronouns are they/them and he him and depending on the day I lean toward one to both. I’ve been exploring my gender (and sexuality since for my they go kinds hand in hand) through mostly doing a lot of reading literature by people standing at similar intersections as me and relating with them on their experiences. Books like the sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, A View from the Bottom by Tan Hoang Nguyen and Nancy podcast have helped me a lot in understanding my origins and how that effects y understanding of gender and my perceptions of masculinity and femininity and those in between spaces.”
"As I explored the trans community here in Wisconsin, I found a few things. Most of the trans men I know are white and hyper masculine. Many believe that you have to identify as binary to be valid enough to take hormones. My existence threatened their idea of what trans looks and feels like. I am a genderfluid queer youth, who came out as binary. I internalized the whitewashed trans binary culture they took up so much space with, and left little room for my confusion with fluidity. What I am saying is that hormones NEED to be more accessible. Resources for trans youth NEED to be more accessible. Not only for trans binary youth, but for those who are non-binary. I dreamed of the day I would be able to get my top surgery, but I guess now, it doesn’t matter anymore. My non-binary family, if you are considering hormones or other medical resources, always know that your feelings are just as valid as someone who identifies as binary. You and your feelings are not less real. Binary does not equate to realness. The binary is a social construct, and I have experienced the push-out of the binary trans men who only enforced it."
- Skylar Lee, 1998-2015
"I was born in gwangju but I was raised in the suburbs by white parents. I think they tried their best to shelter me. when another Korean adoptee and myself were put in a speech therapy class by our elementary school to meet a "quota," my father was furious. "my kid speaks just fine," he insisted. being an interracial family forced my parents to experience second-hand the microaggressions Asian people endure. they tried their best to teach me about my people. they offered to send me to "Korea camp" or language classes but the damage was done. I wanted blonde hair and blue eyes growing up. I accepted my queerness before I accepted my Asian-ness. I only came out as nonbinary this past year. my parents do not know yet."
"Exploring gender identity for me means examining and deconstructing the ways in which all things are assigned gender—not just my own body, traits, and presentation, but how all people, behaviors, objects, emotions, words, and beyond are processed by society and by individuals through a binary lens. It also fascinates me to think about how everyone, cis and trans alike, feels compelled to perform gender, to have goals and ambitions for their presentation. Accepting they/them is embracing my own ambitions while rejecting the binary lens as a toxic limitation on accepting the multiplicity and possibility of being."
If you are interested in the project, feel free to email me your selfie and share your story of how your explore your gender identity!