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.