“When I came out to my mom, she was scared for me.”

When I came out to my mom, she was scared for me. “I want you to have an easy life,” she said, and coming out meant that my life wasn’t going to be easy. Like any other Taiwanese mother, she wanted to protect me from the dangers I would have to face as I got older. The world she’d grown up in, Taiwan in the 1980s, was dangerous for people like me, and she didn’t want me to have to face yet another form of prejudice. But she also knew that my world as a 21st century American…

Balancing the Trifecta: Growing up Taiwanese, Korean, and American

  There are 27 picture frames on the wall next to our staircase, each chronicling flashes of the life I know. Pictures of my mom and dad on a vacation to Italy while they were dating, pictures of my brother and me in Mexico, pictures of my brother as a toddler in a pumpkin patch. Pictures of my grandpa’s 60th birthday party, of my parents playing golf with their friends, of my late grandfather with my cousins, of my brother and me sitting on a swing set in Korea. My parents immigrated…

A Rose By Any Other

My Chinese name is 陳克聞. Seven strokes for the first character of my given name, fourteen for the second, because the fortuneteller told my grandmother that this mathematics of words was auspicious. I write my name with one stroke fewer than the prescribed number, so perhaps all my misfortunes are a result of bad penmanship. No one uses 陳克聞. At home, I am 哥哥, “older brother,” except when my mother, in exasperation, calls out all three syllables of my name for dramatic effect.…