Keeping Families Together
The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog
May 17, 2013
Do We Still Have To Publicly Recognize Private Acts Of Courage?
By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA
At this time of year we are deep into planning our Annual Presentation Banquet. This year’s Banquet will be on June 15 in the ballroom of the Whitcomb Hotel in San Francisco. It is our ninth Banquet and we are amazed, has it really been that long? Other LGBT events have a longer history, but our Banquet depends on API LGBTs who publicly want to honor their parents and family who stuck by them. Without them, there would be no Banquet. Since our first Banquet, our community has made such phenomenal progress that when we started planning for this ninth one, we wondered if it is still a rare occurrence for API parents and family to stick by their LGBT children.
Could you have imagined nine years ago that the United States Supreme Court would hear two LGBT landmark cases; that twelve states would allow same gender marriage; that the majority of Americans would favor LGBT rights; that movie stars, sports heroes, and television personalities would come out of the closet and become role models; that movie stars, sports heroes, and television personalities would become allies lending their influential voices? The progress our community has made and the visibility we have gained ought to make accepting parents and family far more common than when we organized our first Banquet.
Family acceptance is indeed more common, but it is still special because acceptance and respect occurs at many levels. Laws and celebrity role models and allies are necessary but insufficient elements to change the national conversation. They lead the way and give glimpses of a brighter future, but to resolutely change our national conversation requires a change in fundamental cultural assumptions. And it seems to us that that conversation is often interrupted by violence and tension and moves forward only with hope and the belief that goodness always prevails.
To honor API parents and family who did not reject their LGBT children is still a wonderful tribute because coming out and accepting are intensely personal experiences regardless of what goes on in the wider world. We have accumulated portraits and stories of over fifty API heroes from the eight previous Banquets. We take those portraits and stories—our Wall of Pride—on the road and everywhere we exhibit they evoke lively conversation, quiet contemplation, and questions about the people in the portraits. It has become the symbol of what it really means to be an API family.
Maybe in the future, we can just celebrate the perseverance API family values without singling out that which should be a matter of course, but not yet, not yet.
Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride www.apifamilypride.org