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2009 Lunar New Year Parade – Los Angeles

2009 Lunar New Year Parade

2009 Lunar New Year Parade, LA

200 Supporters of Gay & Lesbian Community March in 2009 Los Angeles Chinatown New Year’s Parade

Contingent Organized by API Equality-LA Draws Record Participation

Los Angeles – On Saturday, January 31, 2009, a record 200 people joined the API Equality-LA contingent in the Golden Dragon Parade in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, one of the city’s most popular community event.  Saturday marked only the fourth time in the parade’s 110-year history that a contingent representing and supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members of the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community has participated in the parade. 
“We expected a strong turnout after all of the energy in our community since the November 2008 election, but we were absolutely astounded to welcome 200 participants – nearly three times as many as last year!” said Ericson Herbas, API Equality-LA steering committee member and one of the organizers of the contingent.  “Particularly meaningful for all of us, we were also joined this year by same-sex couples who had been able to legally marry before November 2008.”
Wearing bright red t-shirts, the large contingent marched proudly through the streets of Chinatown, carrying banners displaying the six colors of the rainbow.  The rainbow is commonly used to represent the pride of the LGBT community and was chosen by the API Equality-LA contingent to also represent the diversity of the coalition’s membership and supporters. 
“Our participation in the lunar new year parade each year sends a powerful message of pride, diversity and inclusion,” said Marshall Wong, API Equality-LA co-chair.  “Saturday was a wonderful way to enter the Year of the Ox.  It is said that the Ox is a sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work.  Fortitude and hard work describe exactly what we need to win back the freedom to marry for the LGBT community.  Today we took a short stroll around Chinatown but we’re committed to the long march to full equality.”
The contingent was led by a drum troupe playing traditional Korean drums, comprised of volunteers from the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA).  And bringing up the rear of the API Equality-LA contingent was Danza Méxica Cuauhtemoc, a cultural troupe performing traditional Aztec dances, accompanied by Aztec drums and dressed in traditional Aztec clothes and tall feather headdresses.   
“API Equality-LA was thrilled to be able to include both Korean and Aztec drums as well as Aztec dancers,” said Eileen Ma, another API Equality-LA steering committee member and organizer of the contingent.  “For us, the drummers and dancers reinforced our message of pride in our diversity as a community.”
The diversity of the marchers was also evident in the organizations that officially joined the API Equality-LA contingent, many of whom proudly displayed their own organizational banners as part of the contingent.  In addition to API Equality-LA, other organizations who participated in the contingent included: Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC); Asian Pacific Health Care Venture (APHCV); Asian Pacific Islander Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (API PFLAG); ); California Faith for Equality; Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) of San Gabriel Valley; Equal Roots Coalition; Gays United Network (Gays U.N.); Japanese American Citizens League (JACL); Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA); Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC); Love Honor Cherish; OCA-Greater Los Angeles; South Asian Network (SAN); and Asian Pacific Islander Pride Council, which includes Asian American Queer Women Activists (AAQWA), Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team (APAIT), Chinese Rainbow Association, Gay Asian Pacific Support Network (GAPSN), and Satrang. 

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Tang Scholarship up to $15,000/year for API GLBT Youth


Are you (or do you know) an API GLBT youth going to college/graduate school?  The Tang Scholarship helps API GLBT youth to proudly achieve educational pursuits and dreams with a scholarship award of up to $15,000/year.  This scholarship is renewable for a maximum of three years (a total of four years) if the student annually meets the renewal requirements.


  • Self-identified as Asian/Pacific Island; (at least 25% API ancestry); (Priority will be given to those self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, and involved in the GLBT community);
  • Graduate from a high school in one of the nine Bay Area counties; Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara County, Napa, Sonoma or Solano;
  • Scholarship will be awarded for Full-Time (minimum 12 units for all semesters/quarters) enrollment in an accredited two, four-year university or graduate institution; (college, university, community college, or vocational school);
  • United States citizen or legal resident;
  • Demonstrated financial hardship;
  • Demonstrated academic promise;
  • Minimum grade point average 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0);
  • Be between the age of 17 and 25 on 30 April

Application deadline is 30 April 2009

Click here to download an application:

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Being Gay is a Gift from God

Oprah invited three spiritual leaders on her January 9, 2009 show to respond to the concerns of real people as they struggled with life’s challenges. One such person was Sedrick, a gay man, who was struggling with his finances. Rev. Ed Bacon, an Episcopal priest and one of the spiritual advisors, addressed the young man’s lack of a sense of self worth by saying that, ”being gay is a gift from God, but our culture doesn’t understand that, consequently, the culture sends messages “you oughta isolate.”  “And,” he says, “isolation is the antithesis of what we all need.” Minister Bernard Beckwith, another advisor, assured Sedrick that “…he is the image and likeness of God…”

What God Has Joined: Hope for All Families

Click here to watch part 2

“What God Has Joined Together: Hope for All Families”

Join San Francisco + Oakland + Bay Area Faith Leaders for an evening of Healing, Affirmation & Hope for LGBT Families & Friends in the aftermath of the passage of Proposition 8

Come Join in an ecumenical celebration of LGBT families

Learn about resources and organizations supporting and advocating for LGBT family needs

Sunday, December 14, 4pm-7pm
Historic Sweets Ballroom
1933 Broadway, Oakland

All Welcome At Pine Church

Watch this video for an introduction to Pine Church. It includes a segment with Elizabeth, Oneida & Prosper on the GRACE API LGBTQ Bible Study 

Pine is a “reconciling congregation” which means they are working toward the full participation of all people in the church regardless of sexual orientation.

Visit the church website at:


Pan-Asian Blessing and Celebration of API LGBT Families


Clergy Blessing of API LGBT Families

October 11, 2008 at 3:00am to 6:00am
An Interfaith Event on National Coming Out Day
hosted by the Network on Religion and Justice for API LGBTs.

In Asian & Pacific Islander cultures, family is important. And to us, family means extended family. Family is inclusive. At the Network on Religion and Justice for API LGBTs, we understand an API LGBT family to include any family in which a member is Asian or Pacific Islander and a member is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

If you are an API LGBT couple, or any individual or family group that identifies as all or part of an API LGBT family – if you are a straight parent of a API LGBT child, if you are a daughter, son, sister, brother, auntie, uncle, cousin, grandparent, church-family member, longtime co-worker, or neighbor – and you love and support your LGBT family member(s), we invite you & your family to join us for a blessing and celebration of your family.

Our celebratory interfaith blessing will take place at the multidenominational chapel at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, and will be conducted by an alliance of API religious leaders of various faiths.

Come join us to bless and celebrate API LGBT families!
For more information, see

Interfaith Blessing & Celebration of LGBT Families (pdf)

2008 Chinese New Year Parade – San Francisco

On February 23, 2008, Network on Religion and Justice (NRJ-API-LGBT) participants (including members of GRACE) marched with GAPA and APIQWTC members in the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade! Despite cold, rain, and dire storm warnings, we had 40 energetic marchers in our contingent this year. We ushered in the New Year with flair — rainbow stoles, rainbow streamers, and bright red bilingual Marriage Equality ponchos! The theme of the float this year was “Three Generations of LGBT Family Love and Acceptance” — featured on it were API LGBT grandparents, couples, and children taking a family portrait under a giant glittery rainbow. Participants showed their tangible support for Asian and Pacific Islander gays and lesbians.

See the interviews from NRJ marchers below. Note: despite the efforts to build support, some folks are wearing masks in order to protect their identities:

Asian Faith Leaders Support LGBTs

Announcement of Support is a Historic First

SAN FRANCISCO, THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2007 – Several prominent Asian American faith leaders in the Bay Area announce their public support of lesbian and gay families and equality at a press conference in San Francisco Chinatown on Thursday, May 31, 2007, from 10:30-11:30 am, at Chinese for Affirmative Action (17 Walter Lum Place, nearby Portsmouth Square), to coincide with end of API Heritage Month and the start of LGBT Pride Month. Confirmed speakers for the event include: Rev. Calvin Chinn, Rev. Jeffrey Kuan, Rev. John Oda, Rev. Deborah Lee, Rev. Michael Yoshii, Rev Elizabeth Leung. The event will mark the first time a coalition of Asian American faith leaders speaks out in support of lesbian and gay families and equality.

2006 Chinese New Year Parade – San Francisco

2006 Chinese New Year Parade
GRACE at the 2006 Chinese New Year Parade

Year of the Fire Dog – 4704

Thanks for marching with us in the Lunar New Year Parade!

On Saturday Saturday, February 11th 2006, GRACE participated with the Network on Religion and Justice in a contingent with the GAPA float, along with a broad coalition of organizations:

PANA Institute, APIQWTC, CUAV, COLLAGE, TRIKONE, Our Family Coalition, Pacific School of Religion, Horizons Foundation, A&PI Wellness Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California, Our Family Coalition, Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow and Robin Pugh, Gilbert Lee (GAPA), Asian Law Caucus, Bay Association of the United Church of Christ, and United Church of Hayward.

: : :

Thank you for those who came out and marched for the Chinese New Year Parade. For those who weren’t able to make it – thank you for your wonderful spirit and prayers.  We had over 200 marchers, 60 of those people were from various church group denominations and we had 10 pastors in all- Methodist, UCC and Presbyterian!

This was the first time that Asian American religious leaders and church members had marched for LGBT equality in the Chinese New Year parade. Over a million people were watching the parade. This parade was a dream come true for me. Never had I imagined that I would have the opportunity to celebrate the joy of being a Gay Asian Christian in an Asian community with gay friends and God loving brothers and sisters- and pastors!!  I felt so much love and support, it was overwhelming. And behind my mask, I cried with joy and pride as people all around cheered us on. It was awesome!

Please continue to keep us in your prayers – PANA has received a grant to put together an educational video for the Asian Christian community about Asian and Pacific Islander (API) allies and API LGBT Christians. This will be subtitled in several Asian languages.

Please let us know if you or someone you know is willing to speak on this important topic.

Thank you for your prayers-
God bless,


Coming Out, Coming Home: Family, Faith & Religion in API Communities

Coming Out, Coming Home

'Coming Out, Coming Home' at Buena Vista Church

Coming Out, Coming Home:
Family, Faith & Religion in Asian & Pacific Islander Communities
Saturday, July 23, 1:00pm-5:00pm (Free and Open to Public)

Buena Vista United Methodist Church, 2311 Buena Vista Ave, Alameda, CA

API parents of lesbian and gay children, LGBT-affirming API pastors, church members, and an API seminary professor will speak about their journeys in coming out, love and justice. Dialogue and  conversation will follow.

Topics will include:

  • “A Progressive API Reading of the Bible and Homosexuality” – Professor Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan
  • “A young woman’s journey negotiating culture, sexuality and faith” –  Oneida Chi
  • “A father and pastor’s story of love and courage.” – Rev. Nobu Hanaoka
  • “One Japanese American Church’s Public Stance of Welcome” – Sachi Ishida, Toyoko Doi and Rev. John Oda of Pine United Methodist Church in San  Francisco
  • “API parents share stories of how they came to acceptance and respect.” – Belinda  & John Dronkers-Laureta, Harold Kameya, and others  

Interested persons will also be invited to participate in a group forming to work toward respect and justice for API LGBT persons in our religious communities. For more information contact, 510-849-8244.

See an article on the event at: