I think I’ve always known I was a TCK. I have always had some degree of awareness of how unique (not superior) my background is, and I have been lucky to be surrounded by supportive family and friends who accept me for who I am. It is the best thing any person can ask for.
Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky. Many TCKs get by without understanding their own emotions and experiences and with very little or no support from family and peers. Unfortunately, many Adult TCKs (ATCKs) have told stories about discovering a name for their identity much later in life, after years of experiencing depression and isolation. Many younger TCKs do not receive the support needed to weather the complex layers of change they encounter during their formative years. Many TCKs feel lost and feel they do not belong anywhere. More than anything, they need people who understand them and a support system that can address their needs and can help them find acceptance.
Since the use online social networks became more ubiquitous, more avenues for connecting people of similar interests and backgrounds have cropped up. Among these were groups dedicated to third culture kids, connecting global nomads to one another regardless of physical distance. As conversations unfolded, so did the rumblings of something larger: a shared dedication to realizing a world where there is an acceptance of a diversity that runs deeper than race, nationality, ethnicity, linguistic background, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation, and encompasses an infinite spectrum of experiences and identities.
From here, individuals in the TCK community began a more organized approach to fulfill this vision. One of the organizations at the forefront of this movement is TCKID, a non-profit community organization founded by Brice Royer and dedicated to connecting TCKs to each other and to resources that address TCKs’ unique needs. Some of the projects that have been implemented include weekly chats with TCK volunteers, organizing local TCKID groups in numerous cities across North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, and a TCK research arm. Future projects are in the works.
As these plans are underway, TCKID faces many of the same challenges growing organizations face. Fundamentally, TCKID needs the support of its community members and allies to continue building on its vision and providing the support system that is so important to TCKs.
We are asking anyone who identifies as a TCK, who grew up feeling torn between cultures, who had to say goodbye too many times to loved ones who kept coming and going, who has friends no matter where they go, or anyone with a loved one who identifies this way, to pledge their support. In doing so, TCKs everywhere will always have a resource to turn to and can be a step closer to building a diverse and understanding community.
I signed the pledge, because I believe that supporting third culture kids is a form of social justice and is tantamount to supporting all individuals with postmodern identities, beyond traditional definitions of identity. I want to work to build a community where all cultural identities and expressions are accepted. I also want to continue supporting others like myself. After living extensively in four countries through my formative and adult years, I understand how it feels to feel connected to different cultural contexts and still feel isolated. I want to provide an open mind and a listening ear and provide a sense of understanding. I am also very excited to see what the TCK community can accomplish together.
TCKs are a diverse and vibrant community, and I am proud to identify as one. I will continue advocating for TCKs and the vision they represent.