284468995_761549825196287_1055315001504767096_n.png

Pride Month is here

  Our Love Freely Series
Showcasing members from our community

Adoptees of South America + Extended Latin Americas celebrates Pride Month with intentional posts to encourage positive conversations about what it means to #LoveFreely in the LGBTQIA+ Adoptee Community. 

284416996_521824942972369_4073599416069343905_n.png

ERIC JOHNSON

IG @sciencebaddie

284647559_725266305456469_7730408593370457719_n.png
284961938_710291713587197_1670952284186535042_n.png
288703038_3153528431561862_2587962441444017722_n.png

JOSELYN

GERARDA

WHITAKER RAE

@joselyngwr

288704593_2980684352223669_8328221400697440760_n.png

Pronouns: They/Them and/or He/Him. Eric uses alternating pronouns depending on how they are that day. They are sometimes he/him, they are sometimes they/them.

 

Eric identifies as non-binary/gender queer which honors the history of gender variant people. They want to exist outside of the term non-binary. It is more about them being authentic to who they are. It is about not being who they were told they are supposed to be. For example people assigned “male” at birth are told “You are a boy. You play sports. Etc.” To Eric this means being true to you outside of societal gender roles. The term gender queer doesn’t even really acknowledge the binary and does acknowledge the historical context of Queerness. This is why Eric also identifies with being gender queer.

What does inclusivity mean to you? 

Inclusion is the act of inviting people to a space in which their history, their truth and their humanity is valid.

 

How has being adopted impacted you in terms of feeling inclusivity?

As a young person, my identity as an adoptee was something that made me different from almost every other young person I knew.  Most spaces that I occupied contributed to my feelings of detachment, dysphoria and grief. Now, as an act of radical inclusion and love, I extend grace to my every version of my past self for being forced into resilience. Inclusion means ending the perpetual cycle of trauma and opening up our lives to honesty, authenticity and love. 

 

Have you found intersections between being adopted and gender identity or sexual orientation? How has it impacted you?

One thing that I am learning is that aspects of my core identity may or may not be fixed. My identity as an adoptee is fixed, meaning that I will be born in Paraguay and raised in the US regardless of what happens in my life. This is different than my gender identity which exists on a near infinite constellation and is anything but fixed.  There are very important overlaps in my two identities as it pertains to mental health and trauma. Like an adoptee, trans and nonbinary folks experience complex trauma stemming from their existence in a world dominated by cisheteropatriarchy. These experiences are layered on top of my racial and adoption trauma. At this intersection, it is important for me to be intentional about my healing journey, to surround myself with loved ones and chosen family and to be an advocate for justice for both communities.

Are you involved in the LGBTQIA+ community? If so, how?

Yes, I support and facilitate a trans affinity group of students as a teacher

 

How do you identify your sexual orientation?

Queer

 

Who is your favorite LGBTQIA+ celebrity or activist?

Alok Vaid-Menon - Writer of the book “Beyond the Gender Binary”

What are things that people do or say that make you feel safer as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community?

We spend a lot of time assuming we know who people are. There is liberation in understanding that people have the agency to tell us who they are, and these are the folks who make me feel most safe. Folks who ask me who I am and respect me for being human make me feel most safe. Folks who are vulnerable and kind and honest are the folks I feel most safe with.

 

When thinking about body image, what comes to mind?

Capturing a positive body image is a challenge for me. Trans and nonbinary folks often experience gender dysphoria, which for me, manifested as feeling detached from my body assigned male at birth and who I am in my heart. Imagine that: what it feels like to not feel affirmed by the body assigned to you. Body image for me is about capturing the parts of myself that I have lost and possessing an intimacy of my body that is liberating.  

 

Are there empowering movements that have encouraged you in your journey? If so, what ones and how has it been an encouragement?

The history of gender variance around the world is incredible healing for me. Trans and gender variant people have always existed and have existed in almost every continent on earth including the Americas. It may not be a movement, but indigenous people throughout the world have always had a third gender. Also, some religious leaders have had no gender ID. Claiming my identity as gender queer is a way I show my love for my people. 

 

 

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella

 

Joselyn identifies as Trans Woman

What does inclusivity mean to you?

Acceptance, tolerance, understanding, willingness to learn and relearn

 

How has being adopted impacted you in terms of feeling inclusivity?

We should embrace our multi-dimensionality and the fact that we are a part of many demographics whether that be latinx, indigenous, nationalities, and ethnicities. As LGBTQ persons we also belong to the community and we should never feel alone. Inclusivity is having a family in our multi-dimensionality.

 

Have you found intersections between being adopted and gender identity or sexual orientation? How has it impacted you?

Yes. Without engaging with my adoption journey, including reunion and going back to Peru, I never would have come to terms with my gender identity.

Are you involved in the LGBTQIA+ community? If so, how?

Yes, Activist in my origin country with the organization Feminas IG @feminasperu

 

How do you identify your sexual orientation?

Straight/heterosexual

 

Who is your favorite LGBTQIA+ celebrity or activist?

Janet Mock - Joselyn loves that Janet got a graduate degree, was the director of “Pose”, and that she’s extremely successful.

 

What are things that people do or say that make you feel safer as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community?

Just seeing that people share stories on their IGs in support of the trans community and their family allies (like parents of trans children) and being critical of enemies of the trans community (such as politicians and transphobic celebrities)

 

A special note from Joselyn

Reunion seems scary for LGBTQ people, but I disagree because most rejections occur for other reasons if at all. I find that because adoptees are really afraid of rejection, they tend to focus on that instead of the positive possibilities of reunion experience. Don’t let anything hold you back!

 

Just like we LGBTQ adoptees have an opportunity to learn from our biological families and culture, our biological families and their cultures have the opportunity to learn from us as well. Our existence is activism and resistance. By just being there we raise awareness.

 

When thinking about body image, what comes to mind?

Good question: I believe we have the right to do what we want with our bodies. Colonization has led and continues to lead us to believe otherwise. I also believe trans people should be supported in body modification to match their gender identity and that this does not in any way take away from the body positive movement, but actually fully supports and embraces it. Two different, yet equally valid ways of loving your body. 

 

Are there empowering movements that have encouraged you in your journey? If so, what ones and how has it been an encouragement?

Despite knowing that we have a huge part of the Peruvian population against us, we maintain resilience and persistence in the face of any challenge that comes our way. This level of audacity has provided so much inspiration for me. I’ve never felt closer to my origin country.