Learning Your Own Name

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2022-03-24 15:49Z by Steven

Learning Your Own Name

The Gay & Lesbian Review

Ren Iris

The author in fourth grade, holding a basketball trophy

IF GENDER had a tagline, it would be “Gender: Paradoxes Abound.” Every day, we make countless assumptions based on gender expectations and societal norms. Sex assigned at birth and gender are often conflated and/or repurposed to fit institutional check-the-box guidelines. Gender—the abstraction, the perceived reality—is a chimera. Like most other words acting as a placeholder for an abstract concept, it is ever shifting and always context-dependent, even if it’s relegated to a box to be checked on a form.

We’ve gotten less restrictive lately, thanks to activists and antidiscrimination policies, and thanks also to the dissemination of intersectional training, often featuring educational resources such as the “gender unicorn” or “gender bread” person. But even with all that knowledge, we must constantly unlearn the restrictive, prescriptive understandings of gender. And in real time, during present interactions, referring to a gender-inclusive cheat sheet before responding is usually a thankless endeavor…

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Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Novels on 2015-11-12 20:25Z by Steven


Harken Media
340 pages
6 in x 9 in
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-9887757-6-3
Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9887757-5-6
E-Book ISBN: 978-0-9887757-4-9

Joy Huang Stoffers (Joy Huang-Iris)

Young adult literary fiction for teens struggling with racial and cultural identity and racism.

The thing about secrets is they force you to choose—especially the ones that hurt so much you keep them from your best friend. Ava Ling Magee hopes college will free her from the past: high school, parents, everything. Freedom from her Asian mother’s control, her Caucasian father’s neglect, and the world’s confusion, however, requires more than a dorm room. Sure, she makes new friends, separates herself from the parental units, and parties. Yet, Ava’s secrets linger, binding her to the past and cleaving her in two. She must choose between the darkness she knows and unknown perils. Sometimes, when life hurts the most, we discover our freedom lay within all along.

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Racism under a Friendly Guise

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2015-06-08 01:35Z by Steven

Racism under a Friendly Guise

Joy Huang Stoffers: Writer and Novelist
Saturday, 2015-05-09

Joy Huang Stoffers

racism, n.

A belief that one’s own racial or ethnic group is superior, or that other such groups represent a threat to one’s cultural identity, racial integrity, or economic well-being; (also) a belief that the members of different racial or ethnic groups possess specific characteristics, abilities, or qualities, which can be compared and evaluated. Hence: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against people of other racial or ethnic groups (or, more widely, of other nationalities), esp. based on such beliefs. —The OED.com

Since beginning my MA degree in Creative Writing at Newcastle University, England, I haven’t been subject to racism. Maybe it’s because the British are usually reserved. Maybe it’s because I don’t go out much. Most likely the answer lies in an amalgamation of these two factors and others.

Today, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, this changed.

This morning I ordered a taxi to go on my once-a-month trip to Costco. (For those of you who don’t know, Costco is a warehouse that offers members sundry high-quality goods, often in comical bulk.) The cabbie was a jovial, middle-aged Caucasian man with an understandable Geordie accent. I buckled myself in and he, smiling, immediately began to interrogate.

“Joy, right? Where are you from?”…

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