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Pride Month
2023

  Our Love Freely Series
Standing in solidarity with our LGBTQIA+ Community Members and highlighting their Stories

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. 

JOSELYN GERARDA WHITAKER RAE

IG @josieladiablita

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TRANSGENDER WOMAN

Pronouns: She/Her

Joselyn shares her perspective

A lot of trans phobic legislation that is being passed now is the result of misunderstanding. In fact more than 70% of transphobic people have never met a trans person before (https://www.justlikeus.org/blog/2023/03/31/trans-day-of-visibility-ally-lesbian/). A lot of people will get their ideas from biased in-person encounters, biased news sources, biased media, and biased social media. Rather than challenge their transphobic misunderstandings, these sources only affirm them.

  • Trans women lose strength due to hormone therapy and as I am now, I would pose no advantage in athletics over a cis woman.

  • Despite removing gender dysphoria from the World Health Organization’s list of mental illnesses, people still pathologize gender dysphoria as something not normal that needs to be “corrected” (https://www.bbc.com/news/health-48448804). They often confuse wanting to change your gender with a mere feeling. Some one can know that they have gender dysphoria at any age.

  • Many people think trans people are predators, but statistics show that assault is more likely to happen by a cis heterosexual man including church pastors, and anti-lgbtq legislators, but not trans people, drag queens, or lgbtq people (https://www.barcc.org/assets/pdf/Statistics_Download_-_LGBT.pdf)

  • Being trans is not just a feeling and no trans person thinks that. It is a matter of  existence and failure to affirm yourself could lead to suicide.

  • In affirming myself as a trans woman, I am rejecting the opportunity to be a part of the patriarchy and people hate that

  • Being LBGTQ flies in the face of latin american traditions and expectations. Latin American culture is filled with expectations for gender roles and the building of the traditional family unit. Many landmark life events are also very religious in nature. That’s why it’s difficult for many of us to talk about being lgbtq in our initial family reunions. But at the same time it’s necessary so that our families can have a better understanding of us. 

  • What is happening is that people are injecting their religious beliefs into legislation. I will probably not see the end of transphobia in my lifetime, but it is not up to me to tell Christians/atheists/Islam/etc how to live. I am not going to be able to control how everybody thinks, but I will never push my views as an atheist onto other people. If a Christian would like to marry the opposite sex, they can do so, if they want to have children, they can do so, but it is not up to them to force other people including myself to live according to their christian moral compass. God should be kept away from legislation, there should be a strict separation of church and state. As a result of misunderstandings and christian influence, legislation in some states of the US has been made to erase my existence. Right now it would be safer for me to live in Peru than in FL or AK right now. The anti drag laws put me in danger for the simple act of performing with my guitar to an audience of all ages. 

  • We as a community of adoptees need to come together and recognize that just as colonization has affected adoption, it has also had similar consequences for the lgbtq community. As such, our struggle to encourage the public to have a better understanding around the nuances of adoption is not so different from the struggle to encourage the public to have a better understanding on lgbtq rights and issues. 

  • I would love to see straight allies step up. As unjust as it may be, they are the ones that have clout and influence in the legislative process right now. 
     

Identity


Moving to Peru really allowed Joselyn to address her initial identity issue as being Peruvian due to her adoption. Only then was she able to address this other side of herself. These are steps she has taken to be a fuller person and to be more comfortable in her own skin. She is fortunate to have a family who supports her in her transition

For more from Joselyn click on the article from last year here.

ERIC JOSÉ-LUIS
JOHNSON-AVALOS
or Jose Luis 

@sciencebaddie

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NON-BINARY

 

Pronouns: They/Them

Have you found intersections between your adoption journey and your LGBTQ journey? In what ways do they intersect?
 

Chosen family is a theme for adoptees and queer folks. Sometimes the people we are put with, whom we have no choice over,   are the ones who do not show up for us. We often need to find these care collectives, co-pilots who can navigate the queer-adoptee-universe-🌈👽
 

What are some ways you would like to see allies stand up for the LGBTQ community?


Read queer voices! Specifically, anything from James Baldwin or ALOK. Beyond the Gender Binary by ALOK is very accessible and short reading. For James Baldwin, Literally anything. Start with Giovanni’s Room perhaps and then read Another Country and then read Go Tell it on the Mountain. Then repeat!  His themes of radical love; I can’t stop talking about this with ASA. A lot of people know me as sciencebaddie, so I recommend texts like Evolution's Rainbow by Joan Roughgarden, a text on the expansiveness of life forms in the animal kingdom. Also for social media,  follow people like @latinxnaturalist and @queerquechua

For even more from Eric José-Luis click on the article here.

JOHN ALBERTO

IG: johns_photos_84
FB: John Alberto

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GAY MAN

Pronouns: He/Him (John says"Call me what you want, just don't be a dick")

Johns Story

- Born in Cartagena Colombia 
- Adopted out of Bogota Colombia 
- My mother was Colombian 
- My father was Brazilian and Surinamese 
- My biological name is Aalbert Yossef (Dutch origins from my Surinamese side)
- Parents bio changed it to Alberto Ceballos when given for adoption
- I am originally from Burke Virginia of way of Washington DC, Flagstaff Arizona, San Jose Costa Rica, and Monterey, Santa Cruz and Salinas California 
- I was reunited with my biological family. I was not able to meet my parents; they had been killed as had my sister and brother. 
- In 2005 I came out once I received my acceptance letter to San Francisco state university. I wanted to be free and feel myself.

 

I knew I was gay since I was 5! I knew, I felt it but it was not okay. There was still stigma toward the gay community especially since the AIDS epidemic was going on. Hate crimes were happening too. That was scary to see. Growing up I got bullied a lot in school and by others because I looked different, acted different and was adopted. I was called Faggot, Fiery and homo a lot along with lots of different ethnic slurs. I kept quiet. In high school I had no desire to date nor any attraction toward either male or female, my safety boundaries were broken, I inside was broken and I was dealing with balancing fears, accomplishments and no being enough and the equation being ending it all with suicide, a leading issue among adoptees and the LGBTQ community. I was determined to fight! Repeat - I am my ancestors' dreams! ….. when I finally accepted myself I knew coming out would be challenging. It was and has! No matter positive, negative, I’m here because of it all. I use both elements as a power and light to move forward in the world. We are all worth it no matter if it's a good day or not! We are superhero’s and worth or powers and identity. 
 

On adoption and LGBTQ intersections

To be LGBTQ and adopted on top of that, there are codes that are like layers and they become heavy. Coming out with your sexual, spiritual, adoptive, ethnic, etc identities. If you aren't in an area that is safe and you aren't able to connect with people who are safe and open, it can be really scary. Adoptees in the closet in an unsafe area are really really alone and isolated.

“We Are Our Ancestor's Dreams”


Adoption has made me love unconditionally. It’s made me love the mystery of life and the unknown. My adoptive parents have been a huge source of inspiration too. They have acknowledged my first family and have done their best incorporating Latin American culture into our family. Yes there are great days, somber days, and trying days …. But face them the best we can. We Are Our Ancestor's Dreams.

“always keep that flame in your heart! I know some days it will be bright and some days it won’t! Please don’t ever let it be extinguished. Let those around you who love you strengthen this light daily and moment to moment! You, I, us are worth it”

 

Allies and advocacy

Being able to be seen, heard and listened to no matter what’s going on …. 

It really extends to unconditional love and understanding and safe spaces because if someone is seeking out your safety and your love, why break that down instead of taking the opportunity to stand and encourage and support by hearing them out. Allyship and support is huge. You don't have to be in a march, but you can help others by letting them know they are meant to be here and are able to be who they want to be. If we are able to step in the direction of positivity, to be hope and light, then you are being an ally.

I would like to work towards more advocacy in this community. There are so many men who are still in the closet and are so afraid to come out.
 

Note from John

My adoptive parents and family and friends have all been accepting! Those who had an issue with me coming out only made me stronger! 
—— in this context I don’t use the term adoptive parents but will emphasize they are MY parents but in this case I appreciate your respect in using the title that way, MY parents have done so much work on their own to help guide me through this world. It’s incredible how much work they have done
 

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