#Augvocacy2019: Finding Pieces of Myself in Young Adult Lit as an Asian Adoptee

#Augvocacy2019: Finding Pieces of Myself in Young Adult Lit as an Asian Adoptee

Growing up as Chinese-American adoptee has been a process I have never fully been at peace with, nor do I think I ever will be.

Stuck between, feeling as if I can never comfortably wear my experiences as American or Chinese. A whole closet of hats I can never seem to wear in public. How I always knew that I had to tick the box off for Asian, but also knew that if walked into a Chinese restaurant, I would be lumped in with Americans as soon as the waiter came over. That while I frequently face people asking the dreaded, “where are you really from” question, I’m just as equally met with unspoken questions about my family photos.

READ THE ENTIRE POST

#Augvocacy2019: We Need Indonesian & Southeast Asian Representation (ft. Crazy Rich Asians)

#Augvocacy2019: We Need Indonesian & Southeast Asian Representation (ft. Crazy Rich Asians)

When I was 14, I wrote and performed a speech to my class on diversity in Hollywood. I stood up in front of a white majority class and started my speech off with a scenario on how you have never related to a film or novel in your life, because you are not white. My speech may have fallen flat — it was, after all, a white majority class.

I’m now 17 years old, and those kids in my class? They all have countless more movies to add into their never-ending collection of films and novels which represent them. Whereas in the last 2 to 3 years, I have only gotten one film that remotely represents me. Seventeen years have passed and I only have one film and book series representing my culture to show for it. I refuse to let another seventeen go by without Southeast Asian representation.

READ THE ENTIRE POST

#Augvocacy2019: Reading at the Intersections – The Importance of Trans Asian Representation

#Augvocacy2019: Reading at the Intersections – The Importance of Trans Asian Representation

Anyone who knows me from the book community knows that I’m passionate about reading and supporting diverse books. I’ve been an avid reader since I was very young, but the process of diversifying my reading material did not begin until much later. Shortly after I started college in 2011, I had stopped reading as much compared to when I was in high school, but sometime during 2015, the same year I added Asian American studies as my second major, I rekindled my love of reading and began a desperate search for books by and about Asians and Asian Americans, especially in the realm of young adult literature, which was the staple of my reading material as a teen.

I’m happy to say that compared to 2015, 2019 has far more books by and about Asians being published, and I’ve been gifted with so many amazing Asian reads. However, as far as Asian and Asian American representation in YA is concerned, I still find some intersections lacking, among them queer Asians, especially trans Asians. I have seen my ethnicity and cultural heritage represented to some extent, but my queerness/transness and how it interacts with my race/ethnicity, not really at all. To my knowledge, there is not a single Own Voices YA book about a trans Asian character of any gender or ethnicity, let alone one who is specifically nonbinary/genderqueer and Taiwanese American like me.

READ THE ENTIRE POST

#Augvocacy2019: Messages My Current Filipino Fantasy Hopes to Give Readers

#Augvocacy2019: Messages My Current Filipino Fantasy Hopes to Give Readers

I’ve been a writer ever since I can remember, but I’ve only recently started writing characters who are Filipino or Indian. All of the characters in my previous stories have always been of the generic Western race. Back then, it never struck me that this was wrong. After all, why should I question it when a majority of the books I read featured Western characters?

But as I began to explore and develop my writing, I realized that what kept me from writing about people like me was the fear of being othered. I didn’t want people to look at my work and to criticize how I represented Filipinos or Indians because I was only half of both.

But here’s the thing, writing about people like me went beyond our skin tone or language. When I wrote about people like me, I found that I was able to talk about the country’s culture; I was able to showcase our political climate; our economic inequalities; through my characters, I was able to call out prejudice, privilege, and abuse.

READ THE ENTIRE POST

#Augvocacy2019: How Seeing Love for Asian Books in the Book Community Makes Me Feel Loved as an Asian

#Augvocacy2019: How Seeing Love for Asian Books in the Book Community Makes Me Feel Loved as an Asian

I think we can all agree that there could be a lot more Asian representation in books, though we’ve come a long way.

But even though I will never stop fiercely advocating for more, because those stories deserve and need to be told, I think this also makes the representation we do have all the more special and meaningful.

I’ve been reflecting on why people supporting diverse books—something that should be done all the time—makes me feel warm and fuzzy, and I think it boils down to this: Seeing love for books about an underrepresented group of people makes them feel loved.

READ THE ENTIRE POST

YARC 2019: (Late) Midyear Giveaway & July-to-August book links

YARC 2019: (Late) Midyear Giveaway & July-to-August book links

Let me preface this with a huge, huge apology. The delay in releasing the monthly link-up post (i.e. there was no post for July) was intentional, but on behalf of the YARC team, I am sorry for taking so long to explain the reason behind this delay. Oof.

But I digress. My (amazing) co-hosts and I were trying to whip up a massive, international midyear giveaway as a humble token of appreciation for all the lovely participants of this year’s YARC. This ambitious endeavor turned out to be a little bit more complicated and time-consuming than we anticipated, especially because we were all absolutely committed in ensuring that our giveaway is open to international readers.

READ THE ENTIRE POST

#Augvocacy2019: Part-Time Diary of a Fat Indian Girl

#Augvocacy2019: Part-Time Diary of a Fat Indian Girl

Content warning: body shaming; fat shaming; mentions of eating disorders; mentions of PTSD

Fat. That is not a word that ever encourages a good response from anyone hearing it. Since god knows when, fat has been equated with unhealthy, displeasing, unaesthetic, and ugly. We’ve seen/read people compliment someone by saying, “You’re beautiful even though you’re fat.” As if being beautiful and being fat are two mutually exclusive things with just a few exceptions. As if someone cannot be beautiful or handsome or good looking just because they’re fat.

Fat people face a lot of scrutiny everywhere, but women especially more so — at least, in my experience. Women are expected to be shaped into the perfect mould that society has created for them — smart, intelligent, virtuous, but most of all, beautiful and pleasing to look at. That’s something that needs to be unpacked separately, so for now, we’ll concentrate on the beautiful part of the equation.

READ THE ENTIRE POST