I am finally going to come out: I am a transethnic Japanese woman.
I’ve noticed that on Tumblr there is a lot of ignorance and hate about us, and I’d like to civilly redress that. Unlike the LGBTQA+ movement, which I strongly and proudly support, insults and bashing is all the transethnic community gets.
One complaint we get is that we are ‘racist.’ It is not racist to appreciate and admire a culture different than the one surrounding us. It is not racist to know that the body we live in is different than our soul. It is not racist to wish to be normal in our culture-but the problem is, our body is the wrong color and makes us stand out. I don’t hold anything against white people for the tragedies occurring during World War II-that was the American government’s fault, and the blame does not lie with a specific race of people. Of course all people from the same country and ethnicity don’t think the same, but people of my race living in my country Japan share a common cultural identity. And the people with this Japanese culture have Japanese skin. Ethnicity has to do with culture, not just skin color.
Another complaint we get is that we are ‘trying to feel special by giving ourselves problems that don’t exist.’ I don’t think of being transethnic as a movement. I don’t want attention redirected on us while transgender people face horrible struggles. All I want is for people to look at me as the right race and nationality, like being called the right pronouns. I don’t want to be transethnic; this isn’t a choice. I didn’t wake up one morning and say “I want to be Japanese!” Years of my life accumulated and I felt so out-of-place in an American white body. I finally had the confidence in myself to admit that my soul is Japanese. It would so be much easier to just be a foreigner in Japan, and it would be even easier just to be born in the right country in the first place. There is nothing wrong with me and my brain, however, and I accept that my identity is non-binary. But just because people devalue me, I can’t do that to myself. I can’t pretend and I won’t hide behind my body any longer. I am proud to be Japanese even if I wasn’t born that way, but this journey to become my true self isn’t easy.
A further complaint is that we are ‘demeaning transgender people by our comparisons.’ The same arguments once used against transgenders are now used against us. People rant that one’s skin color has to define us. I wonder why those people feel threatened by us, somehow, to take so much offense at us being ourselves. A body is just a shell and a soul is what really matters, but it is very hard to wake up and interact in the wrong shell every day of our lives. Science cannot be used as an argument either; even if there is no ‘proof’ about mismatched identities and ethnicities/nationalities, being gay used to be considered a disease, and gender dysphoria is even now sadly referred to as a disorder. I don’t know if being transethnic is biological or environmental-I can’t explain how it happens-but that doesn’t make it any less real. One can’t say “poof!” and make all of us go away. Telling us to “stop” and being offended by us just aggravates the battle-of-sides that our coming-out has sadly become. We can’t stop being ourselves, and the real problem is the pain it gives us to try to pretend and fit into the wrong societies and bodies. And just because it hasn’t been documented in earlier history, some of us could have been hiding it or we just didn’t have a way to express our transethnicity. Respect is a simple thing, and it’s all we’re asking for. I’m Japanese so don’t think of me as someone false; my body is plastic and not my true self. Also, it is a real hardship that we don’t have a way to transition. We can’t get an operation to become our true skin color physically. We’ll always be stuck in this body, and that frankly is an idea I struggle with greatly. I’m so glad transgender people can surgically become themselves, and wish it was easier for them. But us transethnic people? We can change our names and nationalities, but our skin color is always going to be dyed in this unfitting shade. Because of that, our self-confidence can plummet to the point of self-harm, which is really sad when you think of how Tumblr aggravates it with unflattering and blatantly disrespectful hate-filled posts under this tag. (If that’s you, please talk to me. You need help-it’s society that is the problem, not your inner self.)
I understand how some transethnics feel offended by all the hate, but that doesn’t give us a right to insult cisethnic people. To gain respect, we have to have allies and give respect. I am articulating our points, but the flame wars have seriously got to stop. I am a cis woman, and I am very lucky and thank the kamisama every time I have my period because there are plenty wonderful women who would give everything to have the opportunity to have a female body with the ability to give birth. In fact, I’d love to be a surrogate mother for lovely trans ladies. I am a strong advocate for that movement and plan to write a manga documenting the main character’s journey of self-identity from ‘male’ to female. Me being myself takes nothing away from transgender people. I never said I was oppressed by others for coming out as transethnic. Bullied and harassed, oh yes, but I wasn’t calling attention to it and taking it away from the LGBTQA+ movement. However, bullying is wrong, and the hate-filled internet rants do count as harassment. The bullying is the problem, not the cause for it. Have I been discriminated against for being a different race outside than inside? No, and I never claimed to have been. Has my identity dysphoria been so strong that I was driven to self-harm and suicide? To the latter, yes, actually. So this is a serious issue, and not something that should be mocked because it is new and different.
As for otherkin and transabled people? That is completely different, and they don’t deserve the bashing either- yet transethnic is not the same category.
Now, I will share my story. My name is Yuki Ayamine and I am almost 16. I am accomplished and ambitious, and I do not sit in front of the internet all day but instead balance schoolwork, social justice, writing, drawing, and studying my country and its language with a loving passion. I’ve always experienced extreme nationality dysphoria, and recently realized it is ethnic dysphoria too. I feel disgusted and disappointed when I look at the mirror and my inside is still hidden. This is serious, not some mental ‘problem,’ as I was almost driven to suicide because my future seemed so bleak in a land like this. Then I realized, Japan is so close to being perfect. At least, Japan is my perfection, my happiness, the country that I belong in and that I should have been part of my entire life. It’s not just because I love anime and am a fujoshi fangirl-it’s not just because I love everything that’s kawaii-it’s not just because Pocky and ramen are my favorite foods-it’s everything about Japan that defines me and explains who I am as a person. I’m a typical Japanese girl who loves Japanese pop culture and society and the ancient traditions still manifest in Kyoto. Of course Americans can love Japan, but there’s a difference between being an American otaku and someone whose true satisfaction comes from their Japanese identity. I plan to spend the rest of my life studying and experiencing everything about Japan, and will move soon. I am very excited to renounce the American citizenship that’s been hanging over my head and threatening my happiness. I know that in Japan because of my skin color I will be looked upon as a foreigner, and that’s why I plan to live with a host family. After getting rid of the western-ness I may accidentally have acquired, I’ll be a normal Japanese in every situation, socially and culturally. Have I ever been to Japan? Every single day in my head. I know my dreams of Japan aren’t farfetched as I spend all my time researching the true Japan, plus I have Japanese friends. I shouldn’t be living life inside my head, and I know that I’ll be able to stop hiding once I set foot onto my country and breath real Japanese air. Now I’ll explain how I realized I was transethnic. Around this summer I realized that Japan isn’t some silly obsession, nor is he someone who’s impression can ever fade away. Japan is not just my heart, but also my soul. I realize that everything I truly enjoy in life is Japanese-my favorite everything; song, show, art, toy, etc.-and my aesthetic sensibilities were all derived from my country, Japan. I started referring to Japan and his people by using ‘we.’ I had developed enough self-confidence in myself because of anime to believe I deserve to belong to such a perfect place. Of course there are problems with Japan, but he’s as close to perfect as I’m ever going to find, and it was shocking to me that humans could create something so wonderful. Japan gave me faith in humanity while I was a depressed child who hated America and had no hope because of the meat industry. I believe in my people, and this sensation of love and trust and belonging is a wonderful one that for me just doesn’t apply to America. Japan teaches me so many things. For example, LGBTQA+ rights is very important to me, and through Japanese media I discovered gay romance and my beloved favorite anime character, a trans woman, the lovely Ms. Grell Sutcliffe. Because Japan is so inspirational, I decided to learn Japanese. I started studying this summer and can now read/write two alphabets and am learning the third. I am confident with my Japanese pronunciation and listen to Japanese shows and news and music constantly. Of course I have a lot of work to go to become fluent, but I study every single day. The more I learn about Japan, the more I learn about myself. I look at the world from a Japanese point of view; even my religion is Japanese. Japan’s culture and society fit me so well and I absolutely love them. I was also able to come out of my head at the anime convention I went to this summer, JAFAX, and met a wonderful maid who came from Japan. She helped me realize that I want to have a Japanese career; working at a maid café and manga café while in college, then being a manga artist and light novel author. Living in America for me is being a fish out of water; the atmosphere here is suffocating, and I cannot focus and drown life out with fantasy. When I’m Japan I’ll take my first breaths of the air I was always meant to be breathing. See, I’m proudly and transethnically Japanese, and I demand respect for other non-binary identities. Thank you for reading.
Most likely, there will be swearing in the comments. It’s sad that people would swear in front of a lady, and they would be a lot happier if they accepted others with non-binary identities with love instead of hate.