A white man from Florida says he now “identifies” as a Filipino, part of a growing movement of people who describe themselves as transracial.
The Tampa resident, whose birth name was Adam, now goes by the name of Ja Du.
He is also expressing his new identity by driving a small hot-pink three-wheeled vehicle that he describes as a “typical Filipino tuk-tuk”.
Adam — sorry Ja Du — says he has always had a natural affinity with Filipino culture.
“Whenever I’m around the music, around the food, I feel like I’m in my own skin,” he said.
“I’d watch the history channel sometimes for hours. Nothing else intrigued me more but things about Filipino culture.”
The notion of somebody identifying as another race hit the headlines with the case of Rachel Dolezal.
Although she was born white, she ‘identified’ as black and altered her hair and skin tone accordingly. She was even the president of a chapter of the NAACP in Spokane, Washington.
Since her story first came to light, a growing number of people have followed suit — as a search of Facebook soon makes clear.
Transexual and transgender
To complicate matters further, Ad… Ja Du also identifies as a transexual. Whereas he hasn’t yet told his family about his Filipino identity, he has told them that he is considering changing his gender. He fears they will laugh at his transracial identity, leading him to withhold his surname.
Interviewing Ja Du for WTSP, journalist Garin Flowers raised the possibility that transracial people could take unfair advantage of their new ethnicity. His question came after a Google search threw up numerous college scholarships exclusively available to Filipinos.
He answered: “I believe people will take advantage just like other people have taken advantage of their identity. But the difference between me and them, Garin, is that I don’t want that.
“I think that we all have the freedoms to pursue happiness in our own ways.”