Monday, July 4, 2016

A Promise to Aiden

Okaeri Loves Orlando

I woke up on Sunday, and my heart broke into a million pieces. Filling the news was the massacre in Orlando. It happened to those I didn’t know, but I fought so hard to keep safe. I thought about the mothers who went to sleep unknowing and woke up finding out their sons were dead. I could feel my heart close up . . . I could feel my spirit begin to lose hope. The world just felt less safe for Aiden.
My heart shudders at the thought that someone who doesn’t even know my beautiful child would want to harm him because of the fear and judgment that is sweeping the country. But when faced with things they don’t understand, people too often allow themselves to be consumed by fear, distrust and hatred and not compassionately seek the truth.
I mourned, but I didn’t cry. All I felt was numb.
But the LGBTQ community is strong, and so thousands of us came together last night, with so many straight allies there to support us. It was a vigil organized by the Los Angeles LGBT Center in front of Los Angeles City Hall... (Read More)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Mother’s Take: Living Above the Line

Recently, I received a message from a mother who asked me, “How do you deal with all the hatred that is in the world?” She has a transgender son, and so I knew her question was directed at me because I, too, have a transgender son, and there are so many states that are trying to implement laws against our children.
Her question made me stop and think, “How do I deal with all the hatred and discrimination that gains so much public scrutiny around the country?” I gave her a concise answer about looking for the blessings around me and focusing on what is positive in my life rather than focusing on the negativity that often consumes the news, but her question caused me to reflect even further... (Read More)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Finding Hope

It has been a month of highs and lows for a mother of a transgender child. I still fear that the world will not see the value that my son can bring to society. Aiden is in graduate school to be a school counselor, and he wants, more than anything, to create safe spaces for all who are marginalized, bullied and harassed. I believe he can make a huge difference in the lives of not only LGBT students, but also those students who are not what others deem the perfect height or weight, the perfect look or whatever category of perfection that tends to marginalize our children... (Read More)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Mother’s Take: I Love Mochi

You are probably wondering if this is going to be an article about the New Year’s tradition of pounding mochi, or perhaps making the traditional mochi soup called ozoni. I have shaped mochi into those soft pillows with sweet beans in the middle, eating the delicious treat (more than I care to count) in between the rice being cooked and pounded. I also make ozoni every New Year’s Day for my family and have for many, many years...(Read More)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Mother’s Take: Courageous Conversations

With the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage for all states this year, the JACL delegates voting in favor of an emergency resolution to be a “vibrant ally” to the transgender community in July and Caitlin Jenner bringing transgender visibility to the forefront, you would think that as a mother of a transgender son, I would feel overjoyed to know that the world is moving in the right direction of equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community...(Read More)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Mother’s Take: So Proud to Be a JACL Member

 A trumpet sound signals a text showing up on my phone. It was Wednesday morning, July 15, 2015

Emergency Resolution 2 had passed at the JACL National Convention. ER2 is the resolution advocating for transgender equality and pledging that JACL will be a “vibrant ally to the transgender community.” When the notification came through, my son, Aiden, and I were on the phone discussing how he could go down to the convention to lend his support. He was in Las Vegas with his wife, Mary, for a few days of vacation.
They both felt that this was an important issue and were prepared to be a visible face and voice in any way possible...Read More

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Mother’s Take: Celebrating with Pride

Gabrielle Gainor, Sarah Baker and me copyThe month of June is known for graduations, weddings and now for our family, it is LGBTQ Pride month. This year, I have had the opportunity to celebrate all three. Beginning in May, I attended four University of La Verne graduation celebrations for Aiden: One for LGBTQ individuals and their allies and another for Asian American graduates. I also attended Aiden’s baccalaureate, where he read the Litany of Affirmation, which began with, “We are the many songs of this Universe . . . And so we have a great responsibility to remember who we are.” The litany ended with, “We are makers of peace.” I cried when I heard my son read those words because through all his challenges and pain, I know all he wants to do with the rest of his life is to be his true self and bring greater peace and love into this world...Read More