Sunday, July 14, 2024

NPR podcast host explores the power of names for trans folks

People change their names for many reasons like marriage, immigration and gender transition. The power of names – specifically for transgender and nonbinary folks – is explored in the forthcoming episode ofTen Thousand Things, a podcast hosted by Shin Yu Pai about modern-day artifacts of Asian American life produced by KUOW (Seattle’s NPR station).

In many Chinese sayings, “ten thousand” is used in a poetic sense to convey something infinite, vast, and unfathomable. For Shin Yu Pai – award-winning poet and museologist – the story of Asians in America is just that. 

This brand new episode is out on May 1 and features Ebo Barton, Lavender Rights Project’s Director of Housing Services sitting down with Ten Thousand Things Host Shin Yu Pai (award-winning poet and museologist) to discuss Ebo’s journey with their name. Ebo identifies as trans masculine and nonbinary, and Black and Filipino. In the episode Shin Yu reveals that she doesn’t go by her birth name, which was a homage to American icon Doris Day. Ebo reveals their mixed race identity wasn’t validated during their childhood, and how they served in the U.S. Navy during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban.  

Ebo shares their coming out and how they decided on the name “Ebo,” including the history and meaning behind the name, as well as the differing reactions from family and friends when they announced their new name and pronouns on Facebook. 

Ten Thousand Things is a vibrant, diverse, and bittersweet celebration of Asian America … and a challenge for us all to reimagine stories of the past and future. Featured guests this season include Disability Visibility Project podcast host Alice Wong; transgender and non-binary, poet and educator Ebo Barton; and NED founder Eason Yang; among others. 

The new season of Ten Thousand Things debuts on May 1, 2023, and new episodes release weekly on Mondays on Apple Podcasts, NPR One, and wherever you get your podcasts.

Find out more information about the new season of Ten Thousand Things here. Listen to the season two trailer here.

Tune into the pod here!

About the host 

Shin Yu Pai is the writer, host, and producer of Ten Thousand Things, as well as the author of 11 books, including most recently Virga (Empty Bowl, 2021). She is currently Civic Poet of Seattle (2023-2024) and the recipient of awards from the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture, 4Culture, and The Awesome Foundation. She is a 2022 Artist Trust Fellow and was shortlisted in 2014 for a Stranger Genius Award in Literature. From 2015 to 2017, Shin Yu served as Poet Laureate for The City of Redmond. Her writing has appeared in Atlas Obscura and The New York Times, among numerous other publications across the globe. Shin Yu will publish new books from Empty Bowl Press and Blue Cactus Press in 2023 and from Chronicle Books in 2024. 

Shin Yu’s visual work has been exhibited at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, The Paterson Museum, and The American Jazz Museum, among other institutions. Her video poems have screened at The Zebra Poetry Festival in Berlin and Northwest Film Forum. Shin Yu has taught creative writing at the University of Texas at Dallas, Southern Methodist University, and Dallas Museum of Art, among other universities and institutions. She served as former Assistant Director of the MFA in Writing & Publishing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MA in Museology from the University of Washington, where she specialized in oral history. Shin Yu is based in Seattle, WA. 

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