Last November I featured a dialogue with Pastor Melvin Fujikawa, who at age 56 came out of the closet to declare himself an Asian gay Christian. He had served as choir director at Union Church in Little Tokyo, and as associate pastor at Evergreen Baptist Church in L.A.
He recently emailed a friend, Marian Sunabe, a member of Evergreen Church (EBC-LA), to announce he will be sharing his story on Friday, April 20, at 7 p.m. at the Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team (APAIT) Health Center at 1730 W. Olympic Blvd. (between Alvarado and Union). There is plenty of space; however, since a light dinner and refreshments will be made available, please RSVP to Ray Waung at [email protected], or Harold Kameya, (818) 368 2008.
In addition to his many Christian friends, Melvin would like to invite all those who are struggling with having a gay son or daughter (or grandson or granddaughter). This includes bisexual and transgender folks as well.
Quoting Melvin, “I’d love to see people there that could be ENCOURAGED (emphasis Melvin’s) by my story in that they can see and hear an outed Asian man who is both gay and Christian and see that it is a very very GOOD thing! My concern is not for myself with inviting fence-sitters. I want people in the audience to feel SAFE that evening whether they be LGBT themselves and/or their respective family and friends. There are SO MANY API folks who really struggle with the whole LGBT thing in their families, going public.”
The question-and-answer time following Melvin’s address will focus on his personal journey concerning his sexuality.
Marsha Aizumi has a trans-male son — a person who was biologically female and has become a male. When Aiden attended school in Arcadia he was subject to so much harassment he stopped attending. His agoraphobia made him fearful of leaving his house. If it were not for the intervention by Marsha, Aiden would not have graduated.
Marsha has organized the San Gabriel Valley Chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays). She is a new appointee to the national PFLAG Board of Directors, and has discovered that there is a large group of young API LGBTs who have not “come out” and disclosed their sexual orientation to their parents.
Their parents typically avoid talking about their gay children and are not interested in speaking out in their support. For this reason, the SGV API PFLAG will initially focus on building a strong support group of API LGBTs. In time, they will be able to bring their parents to events where they can meet other parents.
Marsha Aizumi and Andre Ting, a prominent Monterey Park businessman, have spearheaded the formation of the new support group. Along with others, Harold Kameya of the LA API PFLAG has assisted as well.
Meetings will be held at 3 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of each month in Monterey Park. To maintain confidentiality, email [email protected] for location information, or contact Marsha Aizumi at (626) 695 9073 or maizumi8888gmail.com.
Phil Shigekuni writes from San Fernando Valley and can be contacted at [email protected] Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.