EXPLORING TRANS — FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2010, 1:21 AM
I’m probably never going to meet any of the people who were in my life before I met my parents, before I came to the U.S. It’s something I’m working to accept. Oh, I might be able to track them down — unlike some of my friends, I was one of the lucky ones. I have the names and cities of my birth parents, and the agency through which I was adopted still exists. And part of me really wants to find them, part of me really wants to meet people who are actually biologically related to me. Part of me wants to know whether I look like them, whether I inherited any of their traits or skills. Part of me wants to know — know for sure, know for certain — whether they loved me. Did they give me up because they didn’t want me, or because they wanted a better life for me?
One of the things that’s most holding me back from delving into that unknown is that I don’t think they could handle who I now am. By the time I next got to Korea (currently planning for the summer of 2013), I won’t pass as female. I will have been on T for two years; I will have had top surgery; my passport will say “male.”
How would you tell a woman that her daughter, the infant she gave up those many years ago, isn’t actually a woman? How do I show up as a man when the woman is expecting her baby girl?
I have one chance at this. Anyone from that past is half a world away. With relatives here, I had time and multiple chances if coming out to them didn’t go well. But with my birth parents, I would really only have one chance, if that. Would I want to risk it?
There are so many problems. I don’t even know if I could find anyone. I don’t even know if anyone would want to meet me. In preparation for my first trip to Korea, my mom and I put together a miniature photo album to put in my file, in case anyone came looking for information about me. I later discovered that no one had ever seen it. The deeper significance didn’t dawn on me until later, one night as I was falling asleep — no one had looked for information about me, not once in eighteen years. It’s entirely possible that they’ve all decided to pretend that I never existed.
It’s been almost twenty-three years since I came to the U.S. What right do I have to disrupt their lives? My birth parents weren’t married. That my birth mother had an illegitimate child must have been a scandal of immense proportions. Bringing that up again would be bad enough, especially if she now has a different family who doesn’t know about me. But a queer, trans, illegitimate child who was sent away to America suddenly showing up? When I’m being realistic, I can’t imagine this going well.
Furthermore, I don’t think I could handle their disappointment in me, or worse. My parents — my “real” parents, the ones who have raised me — accept me, support me, and love me. They didn’t disown me for being queer, for being trans. To the contrary, they’ve become even more supportive (if that’s even possible). I don’t need more parents; this has always been about finding people who look like me, finding closure regarding having been given away. Given everything that’s happened in that almost quarter center, would this just be looking for heartbreak?