In the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando, the response and outpourings of love and support have been overwhelming. It is with that spirit of love that the National Queer Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), has taken on an unprecedented effort to challenge anti-LGBTQ bigotry and foster greater visibility and acceptance for LGBTQ Asian Americans in their families.
The monumental loss the LGBTQ community experienced in Orlando validates our fears of how hatred and rejection manifest themselves. For parents, there is no greater pain than losing a child. That’s why Asian American parents banded together to pen an open letter to show their unconditional love and support for their LGBTQ children.
The letter was the brainchild of Marsha Aizumi and two other mothers. Aizumi, the mother of a transgender son, spoke at HRC’s Time to Thrive Conference earlier this year where she delivered a powerful speech about the importance of full equality for all LGBTQ people.
"We wanted to write this letter, because we know that many of our LGBTQ community members are hurting, and many of their parents are scared for their safety," the authors of the letter told Mic.
The letter’s powerful opening, “We, the Asian American Parents Who Love Our LGBTQ Kids,” is a testament to the power of love that transcends all cultural, religious and social barriers to acceptance of their LGBTQ children.
“We support our LGBTQ children and we are proud of who they are,” the letter reads. “We also stand in solidarity with Muslim families, especially parents with queer Muslim children...Our children need our unconditional love and may need our shoulders to cry on.” In the wake of the Orlando tragedy, NQAPIA issued a powerful statement also highlighted in HRC blog, “Muslim Leaders Say Yes to Love,” reminding us all of the full diversity of the LGBTQ community and our need to stand strong against division and scapegoating of our Muslim brothers and sisters.
Well before Orlando, in celebration of Pride month, NQAPIA and Asian Pride Project for Asian American Pacific Islander launched Family Acceptance Campaign, creating a series of short videos that have been translated into eight languages. In June, Television Korea aired the ads to 12 million homes in the U.S.
“We are so thankful for the good work of NQAPIA and our partnership,” said Mary Beth Maxwell, HRC’s Senior Vice President for Programs, Research, and Training. “These much needed resources surely will benefit both the LGBTQ and Asian American communities in fostering acceptance.”
While on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, the PFLAG Korea chapter opened a booth at the Korea Queer Culture Festival in Seoul to give out free hugs to anyone in need of a mother’s embrace. The effort billed as “I Love You As You Are” is another powerful example of loving parents in action and the universal need, post Orlando, to reach more people with a message of love.
To learn more about “Being Asian/Pacfici Islander & LGBTQ,” go to http://www.hrc.org/resources/being-asian-pacific-islander-lgbtq-an-introduction