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Q&A: Queer
and adopted

Q&A: Queer
and adopted

E! News Correspondent Ken Baker

When Judi Baker came out, her mom asked if she'd turned out gay because she'd been adopted. By embracing the two ways she feels "different," the San Francisco writer has since found her identity.

"Is it because you're adopted?" asked my mother, crying. She was standing in front of the counter at my job and had just asked me if it was true that I was dating a woman. I was 19 and worked at a toy store. Looking back, I realize this was probably the worst day of my life.

I always felt different as a kid. A lot of it had to do with how I looked. My parents are fair-skinned and blond, as is my sister, who is biologically their child. I was always tan, my brown hair thick and unruly. In pictures of family reunions, there I am, taller and darker than the women on my mother's side. They're Polish-American. I'm--I don't know what. Well, that's not true. I know I'm queer.

"You were chosen," my parents would tell me. "Yeah, I was chosen," I'd say to my sister. "They just had you."

When I think about the question my mother, now 75, asked me, I try to put myself in her shoes. She knew nothing about gay people. It's obvious she was looking for a "reason" for my gayness--why wouldn't she? My older sister is straight and was not adopted, so therein lies a difference. Being adopted has always made me a puzzle.

My girlfriend, also adopted, came out to her parents last year. They didn't ask her, "Is it because you're adopted?" But I have to wonder if they thought it. She has biological siblings and always felt different too.

"I came out to my family at a very late age," she says. "Maybe subconsciously I didn't want to be even more different from my family."

As I write this, she and I are anxiously awaiting the results from DNA tests that will tell us about our ethnic backgrounds. It may not seem that exciting to someone who knows their roots, but to us, it's as if we're waiting to meet the spirits of our grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and their grandmothers.

And we're also planning our next trip to the tattoo parlor. "Q&A" will be imprinted on our bodies as it is on our lives and emotions and hearts. I may look queer, but do I look adopted? I can't wait for people to ask what it stands for, because I'll be coming out each time I talk about it--coming out two times over.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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