API Family Pride Honors LGBT Supportive Families
By Dennis McMillan
Asian and Pacific Islander Family Pride (API Family Pride) held its 7th annual Family Presentation Banquet with Asian cuisine at Hotel Whitcomb on Sept. 18, themed “Public Recognition of Private Courage.” The event honors API families and organizations who love and support their LGBT members despite sometimes strong social criticism and disapproval.
“Each year, API Family Pride honors API families who love and support their LGBT members,” said Belinda Dronkers-Laureta, director of A&PI Family Pride. “These families are beloved role models of positive relationships and exemplify love conquering the fear and shame of homophobia.” She pointed out the Wall of Pride, composed of 45 story boards placed around the room, each with a photo of past honorees and their stories of LGBT support. This Wall of Pride travels to various A&PI locations as a vivid visual testimonial.
Presiding over the ceremonies was San Francisco Human Rights Commissioner and transgender activist Cecilia Chung. She noted that many API LGBT people do not come out to their families, fearing that they will be rejected. However, there are API families whose love and acceptance have made coming out of the closet less painful and harrowing. API Family Pride seeks to honor and recognize these families who love their LGBT members unconditionally. Honorees this year included the Esmaeili Family, honored by Pardis Esmaeili, API Family Pride’s volunteer coordinator and first ever employee; Rev. Deborah Lee, honored by the Network on Religion and Justice for API-LGBT; Nathaniel and Emi Sakamoto Chung, honored by aunts Meibeck and Maya, and cousin Luna; and the Magallanes Family, honored by son and brother Jarron Magallanes. “I have lived away from home for almost ten years, but I can still feel how much they love me from across the country,” said Jarron in a video he sent from New York. “They rallied against Prop 8, flew to DC for the Equality March, and I see Facebook pictures of them wearing rainbow flag awareness bracelets. My family is fierce.” He added, “Family Pride is changing the world, one family at a time, which can mean three generations at once.”
Brian Cagadas sang the moving “One Song, Glory” from the musical Rent; Salvador Real and Anthony Rollins-Mullens sang the gorgeous same-sex love duet, “I’ll Cover You” from Rent; and Balinese dancers Noni Andarawati and Maria Omo provided entertainment throughout the event.
Mayor Gavin Newsom sent along his proclamation officially declaring it “Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride Day in San Francisco.” Daniel Bao put out a call for more board members. Jordan de Peralta, board member, suggested interested people join the Facebook group of A&PI Family Pride.
At the end, two cakes were brought out with frosting spelling out: “In API homes, all children are welcome.”
API Family Pride is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that depends on the contributions of its generous benefactors to continue its mission to end the isolation of API families with LGBT members through support, education, and dialogue. For more information, visit apifamilypride.org.
Asian Pacific Islander Family Pride Banquet
June 4, 2009
The Asian Pacific Island Family Pride Banquet was presented again at the Hotel Whitcomb on May 30. Greeter and board member Daniel Bao made guests feel welcome, and he and his family were featured in the Family Honor Role program and in the “Wall of Pride” display that ran along the length of the ballroom. API Family Pride Director Belinda Bronkers-Laureta and her husband John also extended cordial greetings to attendees.
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