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Behind the Scenes: Teen writers describe what it's like to work at YCteen.
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Identity (56 found)
Note: These stories are from YCteen and its sister publication, Represent, which is written by and for youth in foster care.
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We all have aspects of our identities that are surprising to others. Here, teens reveal less obvious parts of themselves that they’re proud of. (full text)
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Melanie writes about embracing her Christian youth group and how she doesn’t want to be perceived as “crazy” or judgmental. (full text)
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Jessica experiences racism in the U.S. and South Africa, and internalizes it. A natural hair blog and a growing understanding of society help her see that black is beautiful. (full text)
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In college, the author learns about a theory, “the looking-glass self": When we change our appearance, people treat us differently, and that changes us. As he grows from gang kid to young businessman, the writer sees this happen to him. (full text)
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The author writes about his ongoing exploration of his sexuality and why bisexual is his current placeholder. He says, “concrete and permanent labels don’t describe how we feel during the discovery process.” (full text)
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Roberta used to think feminists were militant protestors that all hated men. Here, she discovers that’s not the case. She explores the definition, history, and comes to her own interpretation. (full text)
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In middle school, Margaret hid her love of old-fashioned music from her friends, but she’s no longer afraid of being different. (full text)
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Tairys gets tired of being put down by her peers just because she doesn’t live up to Dominican stereotypes. (full text)
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Half Eastern European Jew and half Pakistani, Taimur feels uncomfortable when people identify him as white. He ponders how race, class, and culture have shaped his life. (full text)
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Back in Panama, Madeline had a reputation as a troublemaker. But after her family immigrates to New York, she sees an opportunity to reinvent herself. (full text)
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The author’s friends convince him to help them cheat, but he eventually realizes that’s not who he wants to be. (full text)
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After immigrating to the U.S., Juana worries that she’s sacrificing too much of her cultural identity in the quest for a “better life.” (full text)
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Breanna gets carried away buying expensive brand name clothes after her mom entrusts her with a credit card. (full text)
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Destiny’s closet is bursting with Polo shirts in every color of the rainbow. Eventually, she begins to question why her identity is so invested in that famous logo. (full text)
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The author explores several religions in her quest to find one that feels right to her and ultimately decides on no religion. (full text)
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The author, a Latin American immigrant, becomes intrigued by Islam and decides to convert against her parents’ wishes. (full text)
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Learning to play the drums isn't easy, but Wanda feels like a star when she's onstage. (full text)
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Kenya, a tomboy who loves basketball, has always had a lot of guy friends—but things get complicated when she starts dating.
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DeAnna comes out to her mother as bisexual and gets a surprising response. Eventually, she identifies as a "full-time lesbian." (full text)
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In junior high school, Nesshell was ostracized by her peers for "acting white." More recently, she was taunted and called the N-word by white kids in a chat room. Labeled on both sides, she wonders in frustration whether people are capable of seeing her for herself. (full text)
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At a mostly white private school, Sayda finds her identity as a Latina. (full text)
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Although she’s spent years in foster care, the author fears losing her identity if she is adopted. (full text)
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Isma is a religious Muslim who reads the Qur’an and prays daily. She also loves punk rock. (full text)
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When Zaineb arrives in the U.S. from Pakistan, she faces pressure to abandon her cultural beliefs. (full text)
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Dwan is teased by fellow blacks for “acting white” and wonders why people can’t be more open-minded. (full text)
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Tichelle and her fellow high school cheerleaders aren't taken seriously and she thinks it's because they're girls. She feels they should get more respect: not only do they pump up the crowd, but cheerleading demands skill, discipline, and lots of practice. (full text)
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Xavier is prejudiced against homosexuals and therefore terrified when he finds himself attracted to men. (full text)
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Anita is raised to believe that being a “good Indian girl” means having long hair. Then she gets a haircut. (full text)
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Jamal speaks standard English, can’t dance, and prefers baseball to basketball. Does this mean he’s less black than his peers? (full text)
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Omar feels ashamed that the "normal" kids have parents and he's in foster care, so he tries various ways to hide his group home identity. But when his friend Joseph finds out the truth and accepts him, Omar begins to accept himself. (full text)
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In this comic, a feminist folk singer transforms herself into a sex object to attract money and attention.
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Conor moves from the Deep South to downtown Manhattan—and discovers that he's been a closeted New Yorker all along.
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Starting out at a new junior high school, Crystal puts a wall between herself and her classmates. Only Alexei, a lovable misfit, reaches across the wall to befriend her.
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Samantha, who is black, has a difficult adjustment to the overwhelmingly white University of Michigan.
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Divine—who is gay—wonders if the rude comments will stop if he gives up wearing tight jeans and bright clothes.
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Lily tries dressing in different styles—goth, girly, hip-hop, and her own normal look—to see how people react.
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Charika tries to resist being categorized by race.
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The writer questions his sexuality when he falls in love with a boy at his school.
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Destiny is 13 when she realizes she’s attracted to women, but isn’t sure she’s gay until she meets Keesha.
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Jen had to try on a lot of clothes before finding the style that’s right for her.
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As a biracial child, Nicole gets teased by those who can’t fit her into a category.
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The author wants people to know that she’s a lesbian, but she also wants them to know that that’s not all she is.
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As the son of a black mother and white Jewish father, Satra doesn’t fit into society’s categories and gets teased and rejected.
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Ngan-Fong wants to be accepted as an American, but her Chinese-born parents want her to maintain their traditions. Can she find a middle ground?
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Victoria explores her conflicted experiences as an “American Born Chinese.”
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Victoria is a vegetarian, but everyone from her mother to her classmates to the school nurse thinks her choice is weird and dangerous. Since she has to spend so much time defending her decision, Victoria's diet becomes a major part of how she sees herself.
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Karina likes to wear miniskirts and listen to heavy metal. Does that mean she isn't proud of her Dominican heritage?
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Jessica introduces the Identity issue by recounting her journey from creating personas like "tomboy" and "pretty girl" to looking inward for the qualities that make her her. (full text)
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Christina feels unconnected to her name. She doesn't know her father, her mother abused her, and her last name can probably be traced back to slavemasters. She tries out some new names. (full text)
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Activities for groups include writing about their names and exploring oppression and prejudice in the story "The Fairest of Them All" and their own lives (full text)
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Yaselin feels like a man sometimes, but now she is the more feminine partner to her masculine girlfriend. She likes the flexibility to change her look and attitude and argues for more acceptance of all sorts of gender variance. (full text)
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The author is dismayed by the "masculinity" of his father -- emotionless unless drunk, and then aggressive. When the author is cast in a play as a husband who learns to express his feelings, he finds a new way to be a man. (full text)
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When she was in a gang, Najet got very mixed messages. The girls told her to study and be good. The boys told her to get drunk and fight. She liked some things about both ways of being. (full text)
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Because of her past, Seandrea is out of touch with her feelings and doesn’t feel comfortable in relationships.
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The anonymous writer describes a religious journey from Christianity to Wicca, back to the Bible, and then a period of doubt again, as she tries to use religion to make sense of the difficult circumstances she's faced.
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Lorraine interviews a group home resident who recounts how she came to terms with being a lesbian, comparing it to accepting herself as a dark-skinned Latina.

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