Guest post by Clara Yoon, A Mom from Korean American Rainbow Parents (KARP)
As I help plan the first-ever Korean American LGBTQ Seminar for family members, allies and the broader immigrant community, I cannot help but wonder: which moment was it that enabled me to become the loud and proud mother of a bisexual, transgender son that I am today?
Was it when my child, at the tender age of fourteen, declared in an angry burst that he was a boy? In that moment, my husband and I felt confused, afraid and angry.
Was it when I started frantically searching for words to describe LGBTQ terminology in Korean so that I could talk to extended family about my son's new name and gender pronouns? I remember feeling frustrated and depressed about the lack of resources available.
Was it when I discovered the Dari Project's bilingual anthology of LGBTQ stories, giving me a glimpse of the barriers that Korean American LGBTQ people face in their everyday lives?
Was it when I felt heartbroken to hear of LGBTQ youths in Korea who run away from their abusive homes and schools, and of the struggles to build safe spaces to house and protect them?
Was it when I met Joanne Lee, a Korean American mom from Madison who lost her 16-year-old transgender son to depression? After her son Skylar's death, Joanne started touring U.S. cities to share his story and speak about the importance of family acceptance.
Was it when I started sobbing uncontrollably on the bus back home from Philadelphia, where I had spent a beautiful weekend with my son attending the Trans Health Conference? I had just read his Facebook post on the Orlando tragedy. He spoke of how, for the first time in his life, he felt afraid. Even so, he vowed to fight back as part of the queer community. I felt helpless as a parent, because I fully realized in that moment that I couldn't always protect my son, and that this world is still not safe for him and others in the LGBTQ community.