A white man from Tampa, Florida was originally named Adam but after identifying himself as a transsexual person, he changed his name to Ja Du. The change has not stopped there, however, as he now claims that he is Filipino.
Ja Du travels around in a tuk tuk or a three-wheel auto-rickshaw that has the ability to be driven around like a small car. The tuk tuk, which is actually from Thailand, resembles the tricycles from the Philippines as a mode of transportation.
Ja Du, whose long pink dyed hair matches the color of his tuk tuk, explained his inner knowledge as to why he truly identifies himself as Filipino.
"Whenever I'm around the music, around the food, I feel like I'm in my own skin," he said, referring to his love for the Filipino culture and its many different traditions and ways. "I'd watch the History Channel, sometimes for hours. Nothing else intrigued me more but things about Filipino culture."
What exactly does a transracial mean? A transracial is a person who is born of one race but decides to become or represent a different race.
For Ja Du, this concept goes beyond changing hair colors, tanning, or using a different shade of contact lenses. It goes beyond physical attributes.
"I think if you're unhappy with who you are. And you change yourself for the better and that makes you happy. Go for it," he stated.
Trans Racialism Support Group
Ja Du created a community Facebook page dedicated to transracial people who truly believe in their hearts that they do not represent the right race. It's called Trans Racialism Support Group, a small group but slowly growing as more people decide to go public about being transracial.
He also explained why he was compelled to start the public group.
"I had to make sure it wasn't just me because if it's just me, then there must be something wrong. Or maybe I'm just strange," he pointed out. "I created our group in hopes of getting the message out of the bottle and people started to join."
Coming Out Again To His Family
Moreover, Ja Du confided that he is concerned with his family's reaction to identifying himself as a Filipino. They knew about his transsexuality and have accepted it, however, he thinks that his mother might not understand.
"My mom is kind of an 'older world' person. Telling her something like that...it's just too wild," he admitted.
Apparently, this is not the first time that the issues of identifying to another race have been put on the spotlight.
The Rachel Dolezal Backlash
In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a civil rights activist and president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Washington received public backlash when her parents revealed that she was not really black.
Her parents were compelled to "out her" after she made numerous reports to media and the police about being a victim of hate crimes accused of cultural appropriation as well as fraud by critics and eventually got fired from two jobs.
In the case of someone like Ja Du, he is also bound to receive criticism and judgment.
"I believe that we all have the freedom to pursue happiness in our own ways," he declared.
He hopes, however, that the public will not accuse him of cultural appropriation. He would rather be regarded as a person with the freedom to choose to be who he truly is inside.