Screening, Discussion with Asian American LGBT Pioneers

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“Asian American Lesbian and Gay Pioneers in Los Angeles” will be presented on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave. (at First Street) in Little Tokyo.

June Lagmay (right) and her wife, Rita Romero, were married in 2008 while gay marriage was legal in California. Proposition 8 subsequently passed but was not retroactive. (Photo courtesy API Equality-LA)

Although their stories are not well-known, Asian Americans participated actively in the nascent LGBT civil rights movement in Southern California. API Equality-LA honors two such pioneers with short films featuring Tak Yamamoto and June Lagmay, who in 1980 were founders of Asian Pacific Lesbians and Gays, the first gay Asian organization in Los Angeles.

Yamamoto also served as president of the San Fernando Valley chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and was instrumental in getting the national organization to support same-sex marriage in 1994. Lagmay has been active in local politics and Asian American community affairs, and currently serves as the clerk of the City of Los Angeles.

A discussion with these two ground-breaking activists will follow the film screening, which is co-sponsored by API Equality-LA and JANM.

In celebration of LGBT Heritage Month, API Equality-LA launched its Asian American Lesbian and Gay Pioneers Project in June and is conducting filmed interviews with the earliest Asian American LGBT activists in Los Angeles.

For more information, visit www.janm.org or http://apiequalityla.org.

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