Ellie felt strongly about her racial identity. Once writing in reference to her chosen family, I remember noticing the Korean flag hanging in the childrens room. It was so beautiful with the bold yin-yang symbol representing balance and the foreign yet familiar text surrounding it. The flag, sewn together to create something so beautiful and balanced, could easily represent us, foreign yet familiar too. I recognize Korean writing but cannot read it, hear Korean words but do not understand it. When I meet first-generation Koreans, I feel a kinship through our physical traits and certain gestures …but a disconnect in our upbringing.
She understood my children in places that I will never comprehend, but will always respect.
She made me laugh my ass off even in the darkest times. She stepped up for me, and permitted me to do the same for her.
She changed people’s lives who met her one time, for ten minutes and never ever forgot her.
, “In Memorium
After she fell ill, Ellie thought intensely about her legacy and the opportunity for social change that could be borne from her untimely death. She had already given so much: vibrant youth leadership at the Korean American Adoptee Network
, late-night safe havens for queers, electrifying LGBT dance parties, and innumerable events that refuted the notion that lesbian nightlife was a thing of the past. And despite no longer being with us, she continues her long-standing tradition.
Astraea is honored to be the home of the Ellie Conant Fund, which will support LGBTQ individuals in Korea.