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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Op-ed: Embracing the Role of Asian Mother to a Trans Son

“Never bring shame to our family name,” I remember one of my elders telling me when I was 10 years old, as he talked about our long line of proud ancestors, which dated back to samurai times. Almost 50 years later, when my daughter came out as a lesbian, that same voice echoed in my head, reminding me of the honor of our family name.  This elder had long ago passed away, but his words lived on.
For months, that voice drove me into the closet. I couldn’t say the word “lesbian”; in fact, it made me cringe. Publicly I walked around feeling dishonest, carrying a secret I wasn’t ready...Read More

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Mother’s Take: Serendipity

PFLAG San Gabriel Valley Asian Pacific Islander members with (from left) Alex and Marsha AizumiOften the most beautiful gifts we receive happen by chance. I believe these gifts happen because we are giving with no expectation
of return — we are sharing our hearts unselfishly. Serendipity is defined as “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” Here is a wonderful example.
At the beginning of May, five of us representing PFLAG San Gabriel Valley Asian Pacific Islanders (API) traveled to the UC Santa Barbara campus for a Queer People of Color conference. We were there to do a panel workshop called “Family: An Asian American Pacific Islander LGBTQ Perspective,” which looked into the challenges and ways our families have navigated this journey of coming out.
It has been difficult for all of us, and some of us are still faced with challenges. As the first and only API chapter within PFLAG, a national organization that supports parents, family and friends of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) individuals, we try to be a visible face and voice for the API Community...Read More

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Lovingly Holding Space

I recently read an article written about a family gathering around their mother as she was dying. I was struck by its vulnerable and loving perspective, but most of all by a concept Heather Plett called “holding space.” According to Plett’s article, “holding space” is about supporting another human being without “judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them or trying to impact the outcome.” Holding space means “we open our hearts, offer unconditional support and let go of judgment and control.”
I remember holding space for my mom when she was dying. I didn’t know that a concept like this existed, but I knew that only she was in control of her death, and all I could do was love...Read More

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What Change Are You Creating?

For the past five years, my son, Aiden, his wife, Mary, and I have been attending a conference called “Creating Change.” It is hosted by the National LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) Task Force, and its purpose is to help individuals and organizations develop the skills to be grassroots organizers in their community. Six years ago, I had never heard of the organization, was just starting to understand what the “t” in LGBTQ meant and grassroots organizing seemed like something you would be talking to your gardener about.
Today, I am an activist who is in this LGBTQ movement with my whole heart, and I AM a grassroots organizer. But that is not where I started...Read More

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Grandfather's Love: Congressman Mike Honda Opens Up About His Transgender Granddaughter

Just recently, my transgender son Aiden and I attended an event near Los Angeles, California called Courageous Conversation, a one-day symposium for superintendents and school leaders that focuses on how to make schools safer for their students. This was their second annual event, and Aiden had the opportunity to share his own experiences being bullied and harassed in school. Also represented this year was Congressman Mike Honda (CA-17), founder and chair of the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus, who was invited to attend and deliver the opening welcome. Unable to do so in person, he graciously sent over a video. And this is where my story really begins...Read More

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

You Never Know Who Is Watching

An inspiring story to start your new year off . . . . .
I have a friend from Ireland . . . his name is Dean. Dean and his friends like to go to karaoke bars. And when I say his friends, I mean 30 plus people, so it is almost like a party. At one karaoke bar they frequented, there was a young man who liked to sing a song by a popular boy band called Boyzone. The way he sang it just grated on Dean's nerves. First he would sing it like the lead singer of this popular band, then he would sing it imitating a gay member of this band using the most exaggerated gestures and voice, as if mocking the gay community and portraying them in a humiliating and disrespectful way.
One night Dean could not tolerate this mockery of the gay community any longer, so he walked up to the DJ, asked to borrow the microphone and faced the audience. But he was not there to sing.
"I apologize in advance for what I'm about to say...Read More