The president of Parents, Families, Friends of Lesbians and Gays API (PFLAG) in Southern California hopes the largest LGBTQ gathering in the U.S. will provide an energetic start to a budding support group for LGBTQ APIs and their families.
The Creating Change Conference is an annual event sponsored and organized by the National LGBTQ Task Force, where thousands of people gather from all over the United States to advance the grassroots power of the community built by LGBTQ advocates and allies.
The 28th Creating Change, which has received some notoriety for nixing a Shabbat reception with leaders of an Israeli LGBTQ organization under the pressure of anti-Israeli activists, is being held in Chicago this week through January 24th.
“We really are hoping the Chicago group will grow just like it has in Los Angeles,” Marsha Aizumi told Windy City Times. “Family connection is so important to our community. We’re not so focused on individuals. It is essential for LGBTQ API people to have support from their birth family. It makes them feel whole.”
LGBTQ Asian Americans face unique challenges when seeking support from their families, including language barriers, cultural and religious expectations, misconceptions about being LGBTQ, and lack of visibility and voice even within the community.
Aizumi has been inspired by her own experiences with her transgender son Aiden to help other API parents cope with these challenges. In 2012, she co-founded the first PFLAG API group in her hometown near Los Angeles, and has since then advocated for such groups in Seattle, San Diego, and New York.