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LGA is About Adoptees/Leave My Asian Balls, i.e., Masculinity, Out of This

In March, I did a podcast with Tom DiFilipo of Joint Council.  There were a number of interesting reactions to the conversation.  I’ll discuss two below.

First of all, I got heavy criticism, which I anticipated.  What’s notable is that almost all of the critiques came from adoptive parents.  On the flip side, I received a tremendous amount of support, most of which came from adoptees through private phone calls and messages.  Yeah…

I’m going to be frank.  Although the critiques about my podcast conversation from adoptive parents were heard, I need to make clear to everyone that the words of encouragement and constructive suggestions offered by fellow adoptees were and remain the responses that matter to me the most.  As I mentioned during Bert Ballard’s and my presentation at the Joint Council Symposium, I am about the adoptee community; there’s a reason why LGA is named Land of Gazillion Adoptees rather than Land of Gazillion Adoptive Parents.  So, if adoptive parents don’t like how I do things, then they should do their own podcasts with the Tom DiFilipos of the world.

Second, there were digs at my masculinity by…wait for it…white adoptive parents and other white members active in the adoption community.  Some of the digs were subtle.  Some of the digs were direct.  All of the digs sent a particular message – you need to man up and be confrontational, you should grow some balls if you’re going to play with the big boys, don’t be a pussy, etc.  Yeah…

The perception of Asian men being “meek” is well documented.  As a case in point, check out the article from Colorlines that features the fabulous art of Deborah Enrile.

I readily admit that I’m not “masculine” in the traditional sense of the term.  After all, I’m the parent who spends most of the time with the Ost-Vollmers kids.

I do most of the cooking in the house, as well as the grocery shopping.

I do most of the cleaning in the house, as well as the yard work.

I care a lot about my hair, as well as how I dress.

I’m not ashamed of any of this.  In fact, I embrace all of it and then some; my confidence is my masculinity.  So, if a bunch of white adoptive parents (some who have Asian sons) and white individuals active in the adoption community (some who advocate for more Asian male voices in the adoption community) want to question my “manliness,” I say “fuck it” and move on because there’s a lot of work to be done.

23 Comments on LGA is About Adoptees/Leave My Asian Balls, i.e., Masculinity, Out of This

  1. Brent Snavely // May 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm // Reply

    The male “other” who is too masculine scares the bejeebers out of some folk, while the one who engages in accepted forms of discourse is derided for being effeminate — funny how the rules shift around.

    It does my heart good to see you you being all ‘Richard’-like on this issue.

    • Thanks, Brent! I was waiting for the right time to go “Richard”-like on this issue. Boom! The Colorlines article showed up, and so I went at it! You’re right. The rules shift frequently.

  2. Aaron Cunningham // May 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm // Reply

    Brent hits the builseye (as usual!)… As does this post. No more common form of marginalization than sexual marginalization, at least not in this country. Too much emphasis placed on the meaningless aspects of life and not enough on the substance. People couldn’t stop at being critical on the substance of your dialogue because they’ve have to admit to themselves that they probably don’t have the guts or the platform to have it themselves… Why look in the mirror when you can look past it and still decide to hate what you see for no reason?

  3. Real Daughter // May 16, 2012 at 3:52 pm // Reply

    I know you could totally kick my ass. Wait, what?

  4. Mary A. Coyle // May 16, 2012 at 6:58 pm // Reply

    Kevin, coming from this a-parent — YOU ROCK! I thought you did a great job with that interview. Change doesn’t happen with hateful comments, change happens with open and honest dialogue. Keep going!

    Mary Coyle

  5. declassifiedadoptee // May 16, 2012 at 7:30 pm // Reply

    Ahhh, the genderizing of insults. What people fail to realize when they tell someone to grow some balls is that the stereotypical agentic way of leading isn’t the only way to get shit done. People of all genders and personalities are capable of dealing with tough issues in a variey of ways. I think you do just fine.

    There are Directors, Visionaries, Contemplators, and Socializers who are all born community leaders. Each type does not naturally see the value in the way the other types opperate. It takes looking putside onesself to see there is more than one way to get stuff done. Each of the 4 types needs the other 3 to successfully lead. Those who know that will be successful.

  6. declassifiedadoptee // May 16, 2012 at 7:30 pm // Reply

    Ahhh, the genderizing of insults. What people fail to realize when they tell someone to grow some balls is that the stereotypical agentic way of leading isn’t the only way to get shit done. People of all genders and personalities are capable of dealing with tough issues in a variey of ways. I think you do just fine.

    There are Directors, Visionaries, Contemplators, and Socializers who are all born community leaders. Each type does not naturally see the value in the way the other types opperate. It takes looking putside onesself to see there is more than one way to get stuff done. Each of the 4 types needs the other 3 to successfully lead. Those who know that will be successful.

  7. Wow, that is really gross of them. I wish I could say I was surprised. I have had an adoptive father say borderline violent things about my jay-jay before. It is just because they “love us so much as if we were real people even” But you are absolutely right, fuck it, there is a lot of work to be done.

    • Seriously? Someone a-father say that to you? Goodness sakes… Just to be clear. The a-parents/individuals involved in adoption didn’t say the exact words, but the message was very clear that’s what they meant…

      • The exact quote:

        robert huntsdorf
        Joy first of all, vulgarity actually shows a strength in vobulary so you can take your comments and insert them into your ‘meat curtains ‘ ie vaginal labia region. Your viewpoint is consistent with one who is a loser with nothing better to do but make fun of someone who mak’es a difference in the world. Go screw yourself you slimy stream of ‘santorum’ ‘google it’ you nasty right wing whore.

        Permalink, Reply, Edit
        November 6, 2011 1:58 am

        from a man who adopted 3 girls. Don’t feel bad though, it is only because they love us so much that they say things like this. Right?

  8. When there are more real men in the world like you, raising kids and being comfortable with who you are, we’ll really be making progress!

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