Keeping Families Together
The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog
March 30, 2012
We Collect Personal Stories Because They Are The Engine For Change
By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA
We have been going through the files of our past banquets to come up with quotes and ideas for the one coming up on June 2. We re-read testimonies written down as they were told and those sent afterwards. We collect personal stories from our banquets and other API Family Pride events, because personal stories have the power to change minds.
What follows is a story we want to share with you. We gave it only the lightest of editorial touches.
Reflections From A Young Queer Asian Who Is Not Out To Her Parents
In first hearing what the API Family Banquet was all about, I was surprised in a good way. The purpose of the banquet is to flip the script on who gets “graded” or “rewarded,” so instead of the kids, it’s their parents. API parents who support their LGTBQ children are honored and recognized at the banquet.
It was a very safe space for me to be there. When I walked into the banquet, there were different families and their stories corresponded with pictures of them—of children coming out and a description of their parents’ support. Everyone I met was energetic, eager to learn, and be there for each other and I easily felt at home. There were nothing but genuine moments that I witnessed at the banquet: hearing about people’s coming-out stories and their parents’ initial response to it, good or bad, was really touching. I’d either bust out with respectful laughter, or, in other cases, got teary-eyed.
Along with people telling their stories, there was singing and cultural dances, raffles and fortune cookies all printed with the same message that read: “In all API homes, all children are welcome.” One of the key quotes in the program was from API Family Pride’s director, Belinda Dronkers-Laureta: “. . . so this year we honor parents and families and organizations who did not wait for a Supreme Court decision, who did not read survey results.” I feel honored and lucky as a person to know that there are spaces, especially this one so close to home, where I can be reassured, organized by people with different experiences, but who all dealt with the struggle and broke through it, coming together to support the same cause. It’s what happens in this community that gives me hope for the rest of society, but within is where it all starts, and if anything, matters.
This banquet not only broke the mold of how API families feel about their LGBT relatives’ sexual orientation, but it encourages nothing short of mutual respect and love. Children and parents fundamentally don’t have to go through their struggles alone. The banquet addresses the struggle head on and the result of it has been so positive. I definitely reach out to the folks in LGTBQ communities to know about this event and what it stands for.
Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride www.apifamilypride.org