White-born man says he's 'transracial,' identifies as Filipino
Now that's something you don't hear every day.
Ja Du recently sat down with WTSP to discuss his racial identity, telling the outlet that although he was born a white man named Adam, he feels Filipino. He now identifies as transracial.
"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 you know whenever it came to that and you know nothing else intrigues me more but things about Filipino culture."
Although Ja Du can't change the way he presents outwardly, he's embraced all aspects of his identity as it relates to the way he lives his life.
He can often be found driving around his native Tampa, Fla., in a purple Tuk Tuk, a three-wheeled vehicle often used as public transportation in the Philippines.
Psychologist Stacey Scheckner told WTSP she's never had a client express a desire to change their race, but she has worked with a number of people who want to change their appearance in some way.
She told the publication anyone who feels drawn to another religion, race or culture should be encouraged to embrace those feelings and dive in completely.
"If someone feels that they feel at home with a certain religion, a certain race, a certain culture, I think that if that's who they really feel inside life is about finding out who you are. The more knowledge you have of yourself, the happier you can be," Scheckner said.
"And, as long as it's not hurting yourself or anyone else, I don't see a problem with that."
Ja Du has yet to come out to his family as transracial. He told WTSP he worries they won't take him seriously.
Scheckner had some wise words for family members and others who may be critical of Ja Du's identity.
"If that's who they are and they want to celebrate it and enjoy it, then you have to think what harm is it doing? All they want to do is throw themselves into that culture and celebrate it," Scheckner added.
Ja Du told WTSP it's not his intention to appropriate anyone's culture or take advantage of things that may be offered to people of specific nationalities or races.
"I believe people will (take advantage) just like other people have taken advantage of their identity to get their way, but the difference between me and them Garin (Flowers, WTSP reporter) is that I don't want that. I think that we all have the freedoms to pursue happiness in our own ways," he said.
Ja Du isn't the first to come out publicly as transracial.
Perhaps the most notable transracial figure is Rachel Dolezal, the former president of the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the NAACP, who was revealed to be a white woman presenting as black.