“Faith, Hope and Courage: Our LGBTQ Stories” will be presented on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Centenary United Methodist Church, 300 S. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo.
This event is an opportunity to hear community LGBTQ leaders one year after the landmark Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, and to learn about Okaeri: A LGBTQ Conference, which will take place at the Japanese American National Museum on Oct. 14 and 15. Community members will address integrating Nikkei identity and LGBTQ identity, coming out, transgender experience, and reconciling faith, family and love.
The panelists are:
• Aiden Takeo Aizumi, a transgender activist, storyteller and school compliance coordinator who is a master’s degree student at the University of La Verne majoring in education. He has served on the Youth Advisory Council for The Trevor Project and is an Executive Board member of PFLAG Pasadena and a member of PFLAG National’s Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Advisory Council. He speaks around the country and has co-written a book, “Two Spirits, One Heart,” with his mother.
• Karen Murakami, a Sansei mother of two gay sons, Derek, 30, and Kyle, 28. Since she and her husband Glenn’s sons came out in 2013, her journey has been educating herself about LGBTQ issues and how the Christian church has marginalized LGBTQ individuals. This led her and her husband to form the Open Arms Support Group at Faith United Methodist Church, which is also starting to explore how to become a reconciling church. She is a program manager at Toyota.
• Alex H. Fukui, a lawyer who has been involved in volunteer organizing for nearly 25 years, with a focus on the API and LGBT communities. He is a three-time former co-chair of the Gay Asian Pacific Support Network, a community-based organization dedicated to providing supportive environments for gay and bisexual API men, and a founding Steering Committee member of API Equality-LA, which led the effort in the API community for marriage equality. He also co-chaired API Equality-LA’s Faith Committee.
• riKu Matsuda (moderator), a senior intergroup relations specialist for the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations in the Department of Community and Senior Services. He works as an analyst for the annual Hate Crime Report and leads the commission’s initiative to end violence against transgender and non-binary communities in the county.