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My Fetish for a Second Skin

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Growing up Korean American in a pearly white city at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, I often wanted out of my own skin. “No, where were you born though?” my classmates would demand. “Where are you from from?” “Idaho,” I’d insist through gritted teeth.

It was at times like these I wanted a second skin that I could swap with my own. Like other queer people of color, I started confronting the twin burdens of queerphobia and racism early in life.

In junior high school, I wondered: What does love even look like for someone like me, surely the only gay Asian guy in town?

In seventh grade, after another stretch of sleepless nights, I thought I’d be better off dead. Wiping away tears, I looked skyward and prayed: “Make me straight or make me white.

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