A Gathering. A Magical Evening. An Amazing Experience.
by Belinda Dronkers-Laureta on May 11th, 2016

Keeping Families Together

The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog

June 8, 2012

A Gathering. A Magical Evening. An Amazing Experience.


Toward the end of Marsha Aizumi’s testimony about her son—FTM transgender—a little boy from among the seated guests spontaneously walked over to her and gave her a tissue. Marsha had tears in her eyes and no tissue to wipe them.

It is a poignant scene from our 8th Annual Family Presentation Banquet, an event that for us created a high from which are just now coming down. Our banquets improve each year, but the emotional content has been there since the very first one. A volunteer who is a veteran of several banquets said to us that you can write about the banquet and talk about it, but you have to be there to experience fully its magic. It is frustrating not to be able to find words to capture the essence of our banquet, so we thought in this blog we’d share with you the thoughts left behind by our guests in the little notebooks we place on each table.

Our guests leave us these notes:

  • Thank you for the wonders of this night. What wonderful and amazing stories.
  • Amazed and inspired by the love, courage, and forgiveness that permeates this room. Hoping, working, and praying for a more safe and loving world for LBGTs.
  • I am humbled and honored to have been here tonight to witness so much beauty, love, courage, and strength in these BEAUTIFUL API families.
  • My parents severed contact with me. I know first-hand how much pain and hurt can ripple through a family when love and acceptance are overshadowed by fear. And so, the healing and love that comes from acceptance by LGBT family members is not just for their LGBT children—it lifts up everyone.
  • A simple gathering of folks, but a powerful moment. Thank you.
  • What a wonderful evening, to see love wrap its arms around each family.
  • Thank you for giving API-LGBT youth a safe, loving space to be themselves. I feel less alone and scared about the coming out process after hearing other families’ stories and meeting them.
  • Thank you for turning a vision of love and acceptance into a reality.
  • The love, commitment to family and the spirit I felt tonight is so beautiful! Love you all!
  • Thank you for inviting us to your fabulous event. Hearing the honorees tell their stories was so incredibly moving that it is almost suspicious. I’ve been crying almost nonstop for the last 30 minutes.
  • Embracing the entire human family as if they were our own precious loving mother.
  • Thank you so, so much for a WONDERFUL evening last night at the Hotel Whitcomb! Wow! It was so amazing hearing all the stories! It is TRULY an incredible legacy that is being built not only for LGBTQ folks and their families, but for everyone!
  • The 8th Family Presentation was an amazing experience. API families coming together to share stories and share their love for their families. I met so many wonderful LGBT individuals and those that love and accept them. We were so moved by their stories. It will be an evening that our family will never forget.

Luna Han’s mother recounted how she went through all the stages a parent goes through when a child comes out: pain, agony, and doubt and many, many questions. But slowly she began to understand and slowly opened her heart to a daughter who is who she is. And then she lamented that many API parents sever their connection with a child for just being who they are. How sad, she said.

Note to self for next year’s banquet: make sure there are tissues on every table.


Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride www.apifamilypride.org



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