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Queer Innocence & Discovery

Queer Innocence & Discovery

by Ricky Koo

The first time I felt it was in the first grade. I had just moved to a new city and I was painfully quiet. My parents didn’t make it easier because they always pointed it out and told me I needed to break out of my shell more. We were immigrants and didn’t have the privilege to have time and energy to dedicate towards talking about our feelings. Mom and Dad both had to hustle at the salon in order to pay off the debt that they got into by opening this new business. Dad spent hours every day on his feet, snipping at people’s hair while breathing in the nostalgic and disgusting fumes of this magic paste that helped them hide their natural hair color. Mom skipped meals, hunched over in the back room feverishly tending to people’s faces, making them look and feel the most beautiful they’d ever felt before. While she herself was swallowing guilt and shame and becoming an expert at holding back tears whenever the...

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