The API Family Pride Evening Of Celebration
by Belinda Dronkers-Laureta on May 11th, 2016

Keeping Families Together

The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog

May 25, 2012

The API Family Pride Evening Of Celebration


Next week Saturday is our 8th Annual Family Presentation Banquet. Each year we grumble about the time and effort it takes to organize it, but in our heart we know it is worth it. Each year too, we know we can count on our community to form an amazing corps of volunteers who help make the evening so special. Nobody gets paid, all give of their talents and time: coordinators, set-up people, photographer, videographer, sound and light man, Master of Ceremony. It is heartwarming.

Talented Artists Come To Brighten The Evening

Each year we benefit from the talents of people who love their art. Almost all have day-jobs to pay the bills, but love this other thing in their lives. This year the Parangal Dance Company is again performing at our Banquet. Parangal is ten or so people who want to pay tribute to their Philippine heritage by preserving and promoting ethnic attire, music and dance. They performed at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and Mayor Ed Lee’s Inauguration. They are fantastic.

Also back this year is Brian Palac who sings. Actually, he does more than sing, he acts and he dances. His string of credits is impressive and long, but we do want to mention that he was Roger in the musical RENT. For those who believe that today’s youth leaves lots to be desired compared to previous generations, this year we have two performers who contradict that notion. Lindsay Chan and Cameron Jang are high school students who play string instruments; Lindsay plays the violin and Cameron the Er-hu, the Chinese two-string violin. Both have been playing their respective instruments for seven years and when they play and you close your eyes you’d think seasoned professionals are up on that stage.

Honoring Special Families, Special Children

Of course, the evening revolves around honoring those special families who, though surrounded by deep-rooted homophobia, still embrace their LGBT children.

This year a Japanese FTM Transman honors his family “who stood by me through the darkest times in my life, and giving me nothing but love. When I decided to transition, they were there and never turned their back on me.”

A transgendered Chinese MTF remembers her 91 year-old, Chinese born grandfather. “When I first transitioned, I thought I had lost my family forever. But when I finally faced them again, my grandparents accepted me with open arms. My grandma even told me that I looked beautiful.”

A Japanese gay man is proud to honor his parents. “My parents’ love and support have been constant and unconditional. So when I finally came out of the closet to them and my sisters at the age of 56, their love and support did not alter. My prayer is that other API LGBT people and families will experience the same love and grace in their lives that I have received from my wonderful family!”

In near referential terms, a Korean lesbian pays tribute to her mother writing that when she came out, her mother went “from denial to reluctant acceptance and finally even loving my partner as her own child.” For us, her most telling testimony came when she wrote: “. . . the most challenging aspect has been embracing who I am in front of friends and relatives. On a recent trip to Korea, my mother told me that she had “come out” as having a gay daughter. I felt so proud and happy for her. . .”

A Filipino gay man honors his father: “My Dad, my rock, my mentor, my confidant.” The father struggled when the son first came out, but then: “. . . my Dad broke through his own prejudices to fully accept who I am, going so far as to let every relative know how proud he is of his gay son.”

We take a deep breath in awe of such moving tributes to families who embody that hallmark of Asian virtues: Family is first.

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

Leave a Reply