Is Transethnicity a real thing, a case of whiny white people seeking out status as an “oppressed other”, or a cruel joke at the expense of transgendered people?
To begin, meet Prince Koyangi, a 16 year old white person who identifies as Korean, among other things.
i’m jun/june, a 16 year old autistic pangender asexual demiromantic trans-asian cat otherkin … i knew that i wasn’t meant to be white — but i did not know exactly whichethnicity i was meant to be until i was exposed to Korean beings, and Korean culture (albeit a single aspect of it) for the first time. (the area in which i live is racially homogeneous and for the preceding 14 years of my life i had come into contact with very few BOC, and no Koreans). anyhow, upon seeing the Korean singers and observing their culture, i finally understood my true ethnicity. their appearance corresponded exactly to my idealized conception of myself (my proprioceptive perceptions and my mental image of my own body); their language, their gestures, their comportment, all seemed absolutely natural to me. it was like an adopted child meeting their birth family for the first time. and it was wonderful.
Is it possible that this person believes that they would be better suited to life as a Korean rather than a white Canadian? Isn’t this cultural appropriation? Koyangi makes a puzzling argument.
cultural appropriation is of course a bad thing. but in the case of transethnic beings, following the customs of a culture that does not correspond to their birth ethnicity is not cultural appropriation! to say so would be like saying male-to-female transgender beings are appropriating the struggle of womyn; that is, absolutely wrong and offensive.
the one thing i would like beings to understand is that transethnicity is real and it has real effects on beings’ lives. too many beings seem not to understand that.
UPDATE: Find out the true story behind Prince Koyangi here.
Ayn Rand In a Miniskirt counters that argument by saying:
Literally, every transethnic person I’ve seen on tumblr has defended their “identity” by drawing parallels to trans* struggles and implying that those who speak out against transethnicity, or cisracism as them kids be calling it now a days, is on par with cissexism.
It’s not only an extremely asshole move to appropriate the struggle of trans* people, but also it’s quite a dangerous form of rhetoric because it trivializes the struggles of trans* people by comparing it to your privileged snow-white ass trying to pretend you’re oppressed when cissexism is a real societal oppression.
Koyangi has her share of haters, but is not the only person who identifies as trans-ethnic on Tumblr.
There’s also Ugandra Handra, a young white man who claims to identify as a black woman, albeit for more obviously trollish and less convincing arguments.
it is important to note that race is a subjectively fabricated concept, with no scientifically verifiable cultural or physical characteristics shared universally within any group …
people state that i haven’t faced the same scenarios that are stereotyped amongst “black women”, but they are just that, stereotypes. oppression and experiences aren’t universal within any labeled group, for members face exceptional variance in their experiences.
then, in desperation, some individuals state that a shared african ancestry is needed to be defined as “black” to which i remind them that all anatomically modern homo sapien sapiens derived from a single, african, ancestor some 195,000 years ago. to the widely accepted, modern, constructed understanding of “racial identification”, this ancestor which we all share, would have been labeled “black”. then i too, should be genetically identifiable with “black”, because how can one lose their race? …
then for the question of gender, i truthfully identify as a male, with predominantly masculine traits, however in the mission of defying constructed boundaries in support of vast communities, i choose to publicly acknowledge and show shameless support to gender and sex diversities. one shouldn’t feel offended by identifying on the title of my blog an alternative gender for it is not done so in a xenophobic intent but rather to deconstruct societal boundaries.
In case any readers make the misguided decision of taking Ugandra Handra’s statements with anything more than a grain of salt, allow me to turn your attention to this post of his, resurrecting the tired racist trope of black people and fried chicken.
Then there’s the Urban Dictionary definition:
A person that is born to one ethnic background but seemingly belongs to another through their actions. Transethics are usually the people that get away with using racial slurs around the (i.e, A white person that can use the n-word around a group of blacks without getting their ass kicked.).Famous Trans-ethnics include: Eminem and Michael Jackson (but MJ took the next step).Mike: Joel is always acting black. Whats up with that?Johnny: He must be a transethnic? That’s the only way to explain
So it would seem that we’ve got this egg cracked. Transethnicity is just an offensive, made-up term used by trolls to belittle the plight of transgendered people. Anyone who talks about Transethnicity is an insensitive asshole trying to erase the plight of transgendered people, right?
In all fairness, we can’t be so quick to judge.
After further digging, I found out that Transethnicity is in fact a very real issue, but neither Prince Koyangi or Ugandra Handra use the term correctly. As it turns out, transethnicity occurs in cases of adoption where the child is of another ethnicity than their adopted parents — an extremely commonplace scenario. Studies such as Transethnic Adoption and Personality Traits: a lesson of Japanese orphans returned from China to Japan and Effect of Transracial/Transethnic adoption on Children’s Racial and Ethnic Identity and Self-Esteem, and books like The Hybrid Family: Understanding Trans-Ethnic Adoptive Parenting are prime examples of how the term is used correctly.
As for otherkins — people who believe they were born the wrong species — That’s a subject for another day.