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White is a Mourning Color

Updated: Apr 8, 2023

- Marcus Eng


This piece was written as a reflection on my thoughts regarding being transmasculine and Chinese. As someone who began to come into his Chinese identity around the same time he realized he was trans, I had a lot of conflicting feelings on how I should present myself in a world with Westernized concepts of gender. I felt a lot of grief in cutting the hair I had once prized, and this grief only intensified once I looked into Chinese history and found trans figures. I felt like I was betraying my culture’s values and participating in the erasure of these trans figures by conforming to Western gender norms. In the end, after a long period of self-reflection, I was able to find hope and comfort in Bodhisattva Guanyin, hoping that 佢, as a trans person and the goddess of mercy, would understand and forgive me for doing what I had to do in order to survive in this world.

Note: 佢 is the gender-neutral Cantonese pronoun I had grown up using for Bodhisattva Guanyin.


Author's Biography: My name is Marcus Eng, or 伍晓烺。I’m a high school senior from Boston, Massachusetts and am currently in my second year as head of my school’s Asian affinity group. I’m a Cantonese trans MLM and I draw a lot of Chinese art, hoping to give others the representation I craved to see when I was younger. Art means a lot to me and I hope to be a visual development artist in the future.

Instagram: @AntidoteForTheAwkward

Twitter: @Antidote4Awkwrd

Instagram: @AntidoteForTheAwkward

Cover photo source: Marcus Eng


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