Hi, Dr. Pauline Park. Your position as a member of the adoptee community and the LGBT community gives you the opportunity to explain to hundreds of millions of Americans the need for adoptee equality.
Well, I’ll try my best to respond to your questions.
I appreciate that.
1. What is your own adoption story?
I was born in Korea in 1960 and adopted at the age of seven months in 1961.
2. Have you done research into international Korean adoptions between the US and Korea and if so, what have you discovered?
I presented what may well have been the first paper on LGBT issues in intercountry adoption at any professional conference, but it was based on secondary research, not primary research.
3. Could you tell us more about this secondary research? What is the name of the paper?
4. Dr. Park, how was your upbringing with your adoptive parents? What challenges and opportunities did it pose for you?
I describe it in this essay: https://paulinepark.com/the-multiple-migrations-of-a-transgendered-korean-adoptee/?fbclid=IwAR3mJZEGeUCJDaHjoP7V-U4V76cRLvzhYNNdbccgnQ-IFFdUZW9WptuyquE
Thank you, Dr. Park.
5. You’re a member of the LGBT community as a transgender woman. Can you explain to people what exactly it means to be transgender and how you came to know you are transgender yourself? How does being both a member of the LGBT community and an adoptee personally effect you? What discrimination do you face as a transgender woman and as an adoptee?
I have a transgender identity and I’ve always known I was transgendered, so there was never a ‘coming to know’ that I was transgendered; I simply was. Transgender people face pervasive discrimination, harassment, abuse and violence in this society; that’s obviously true for transgender adoptees as well, who face discrimination based on race, ethnicity and national origin as well as gender identity and expression.
6. What discrimination as an adoptee have you faced? What discrimination do all adoptees face? Has any of this discrimination towards you been from other members of the LGBT community?
I’m sure all transracial adoptees have faced discrimination at some point in their lives, especially transracial intercountry adoptees. There is certainly both racism and ethnocentrism in the LGBT community, unfortunately; most of it is not blatant discrimination but takes more subtle forms.
7. What changes are necessary from our state governments in order to protect discriminated groups of people, including LGBT adoptees and non LGBT adoptees?
LGBT adoptees would benefit from federal, state, and local non-discrimination in those jurisdictions – which include the vast majority of cities, counties, and states- that have not enacted legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Both LGBT and non-LGBT adoptees would benefit from federal and state legislation that would open adoption records to adoptees as well as guarantee naturalization to intercountry adoptees.
8. Besides naturalization for intercountry adoptees, and the unsealing of adoption records what else would you like to see for adoptees?
I think adoptees need access to affordable and culturally sensitive social services, including mental health counseling and therapy to deal with the micro-aggressions, the traumas and other challenges they face.
9. How can people from other discriminated groups, such as the LGBT community, support and assist adoptees and why is it important for them to do so?
It’s important to embrace a broad- based pursuit of social justice for all, informed by an intersectional analysis of multiple oppressions that articulates the connections between and among different groups, including LGBT people and adoptees.
Thank you for taking the time to interview with me, Dr. Park. I hope your answers inspire others, regardless of their own personal backgrounds, to support the cause for adoptee equality and adoption reformation.
Sure! You’re most welcome.
Pauline is the woman speaking in the photo.