Workshops planned for Asian parents of LGBT children

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance will host a day of workshops June 18 geared toward helping Asian parents accept and support their gay, lesbian and transgender children’s coming out process.

Billed as an Asian Family Acceptance Workshop, the effort is part of an 18-city tour that began last month in New York and will culminate in Denver.

Why is does such a need exist?

For one thing, the need for culturally appropriate peer-support is great, according to Glenn Magpantay, Executive Director of NQAPIA, a federation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander organizations.

And while many LGBT Asians are out in the community, they go back into the closet in their families, fearful of coming out to parents and dishonoring them.

It’s so bad Magpantay said, self-loathing, depression and suicide. It’s so bad, few are willing to come forth and put a public face on this issue.

“They were too scared about repercussions at work and rejection by their family,” Magpantay said. “That’s why we’re promoting a new campaign to promote acceptance among Asian-Americans.”

Although Asians are the fastest growing minority group in the country, he said the diversity of the LGBT community isn’t reflected in the changing demographics. Partly because there is a misconception that all LGBT people are white and all Asians are straight.

Our goal is to provide support for Asian parents who have gay kids and support for young people who want to come out to their families.

“We know that when we are fully accepted and supported by our families, all of our ability can come to the fore,” Magpantay said. “We can achieve all of the hopes and dreams that our Asian parents have for us if they fully support and accept us.”

The Atlanta workshop is scheduled to get under way at noon at the Center for Pan Asian Community Services, 3510 Shallowford Road, Chamblee, GA 30341.

Speakers will include Clara Yoon, a Korean mother of a transgender bisexual son and founder of the API Project of PFLAG NYC, a group providing support for LGBTQ individuals and families of Asian heritage; and, a Michelle Honda-Phillips fourth-generation Japanese-American from Northern California and proud mother of a nine-year-old transgender daughter.