Members of PFLAG San Gabriel Valley (SGV) Asian Pacific Islander (API) hosted nearly 180 guests at its fifth anniversary celebration on May 19.
It is the first and only API chapter of PFLAG, a national LGBTQ support group with over 400 chapters.
The joyous celebration took place at Centenary United Methodist Church in Little Tokyo. PFLAG National President Jean Hodges gave a challenging keynote address.
In 2017, PFLAG SGV API received a Chapter Award at the national convention in Portland, Ore. The chapter has reached out to a historically underserved community with unique cultural issues regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.
A number of API ministers and community leaders attended the celebration. Special recognition was given to members of the Hollywood Independent Church for their generous gift to the PFLAG SGV API chapter. Sage Granada Park United Methodist Church was honored for the vital use of its meeting facilities as a central location in the San Gabriel Valley.
Also honored were Harold and Ellen Kameya, who first joined the PFLAG Los Angeles chapter in 1990. They had attempted to start an API PFLAG group twice, before a sustainable group was formed when a critical mass of dedicated co-founders were gathered to form the San Gabriel chapter.
When their daughter came out in 1988, attitudes of the Asian community towards LGBTQ was very different compared to today. Having an API support group for LGBTQ people was unimaginable then, and it is a dream come true today.
Marsha Aizumi has been president of the chapter and is supported by a diverse executive board. She has been a member of the PFLAG National Board as well, and recently was appointed to the Advisory Council for LGBTQ Equality by the (Joe) Biden Foundation.
Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the nation’s largest organization uniting families, allies, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people. PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education and advocacy, and has nearly 400 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities and rural areas in all 50 states. To learn more, visit www.pflag.org.
PFLAG SGV API became the first and only Asian Pacific Islander-focused chapter within PFLAG’s network in May 2013. It continues to serve the Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian and Pacific Islander communities with a monthly support group, culturally specific afternoon teas, one-on-one family support, and a network of supportive parents who speak API languages. To learn more, visit www.sangabrielvalleyapipflag.com.