Family 2.0: An API LGBTQ Gathering open to all

Sarah Baker May 3, 2017 0

Set to take place on Saturday, May 20 at North Seattle College, Family 2.0: An API LGBTQ Gathering (Family 2.0 for short) is the second event of its kind. Preceded by Family in 2015, Family 2.0 is a full-day conference that is geared toward Asian Pacific Islander LGBTQIA+ identified individuals, their families, and allies. Completely free and open to any who would like to attend, this event has been sponsored in part by Seattle Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), North Seattle College, JACL National, State Farm, Interplay, NQAPIA, Okaeri, as well as a number of individual donors.

Although this event is free, we ask that folks pre-register to give an accurate headcount for food and materials. Doors open at 9:00 a.m. Parking is ample and free.

For more information and registration, visit apifamilyevent.com.

The History of Family

The concept for Family was originally started by the Seattle JACL in 2014. As the second national organization to support marriage equality (after the ACLU), the JACL has always been a strong advocate and ally of the LGBTQIA+ community. The Seattle JACL recognized the need for a culturally relevant API LGBTQIA+ support group in the Seattle area, and thus the idea for Family sparked.

What started as a small community meeting at the Panama Hotel Tea Room, the first Family conference soon took wing and was successfully implemented in June 2015. With over 100 people in attendance spanning across 5 states and Canada, participants praised the welcoming and inclusive space that Family provided.

From Marsha Aizumi, Author of Two Spirits One Heart: “Attending an Asian American LGBTQ event like Family with my son and daughter-in-law, we were able to see people like us, so we didn’t feel so all alone and shared our stories of moving through fear, sadness, and shame to unconditional love and acceptance, which continued to bring healing to our lives. The Family event also gave me, a mother, hope that more families will support their children and more allies will become visible voices for my son and the LGBTQ community.”

Seattle JACL President Sarah E. Baker • Courtesy Photo

What to look forward to at Family 2.0

Family 2.0 is made possible by over 15 community groups and organizations. Hosting a total of eight workshops and a resource fair, folks are traveling from across the country to make Family 2.0 a reality. Attendees will be provided breakfast and lunch, and there will be all- gender restrooms available.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Lydia X. Z. Brown. Hailing from the East Coast, Lydia is a “writer, dreamer, activist/organizer, and speaker/ educator” (autistichoya.com). Identity and experiences that Lydia holds are, “autistic, and multiply otherwise neurodivergent and disabled, queer, asexual-spectrum, genderqueer/non-binary, and sometimes read as feminine, transnationally and transracially adopted East Asian person of color […].” Speaking from within these inter- sections, Lydia will share about their life and how converging identities impact our experiences within society.

Workshops will be hosted in two blocks of four in the morning and afternoon. Themes and hosting organizations include: Family Acceptance (by NQAPIA), LGBTQ Immigrant History (presented by the JACL National Youth/Student Council), Coming Out As An Adult (by PFLAG), The Soul Loves the Body (by Interplay), Trans 101 (by the Ingersoll Gender Center), Asian Transgender Conversations (by Stonewall Youth), Immigrant Voices (by API Chaya), and Queer Muslim group, Noor.

Participating organizations in the resource fair include: Seattle JACL, Trikone, API Chaya, Noor, North Seattle College Gender and Equity Center, Seattle Counseling Services, ICHS, Gay City, PFLAG, NQAPIA, Indian Association of Western WA, and more. We are also excited to announce that Hepatitis Education Project will be offering free and confidential on-site hepatitis testing.

The day will be concluded with a drag show, performed by Miss Saigon Brown and her fabulous dancers.

What Happens After Family?

Moving past the May 20 event, the Seattle JACL hopes to continue the momentum of Family 2.0 by hosting a regular API LGBTQIA+ support group in a centralized location in Seattle (most likely close to the ID or South Seattle). Attendees of the conference will be encouraged to sign up for an e-mail list and will be contacted regarding future meetings.

FAQ:

Q: I’m not API or LGBTQIA+ identified, should I still come?

A: Yes! All we ask is that you come with an open mind and an open heart. All are welcome.

Q: I have food allergies, can that be accommodated?

A: In the registration page there is a space to let us know about any food allergies or other accommodations you may need. We are going to do our best to make sure everyone is happy!

Q: Is the conference ADA accessible?

A: Absolutely! We want everyone to participate.

Q: I don’t drive, how do I get there?

A: North Seattle College is a short walk from the Northgate Transit Center and is located on major bus lines.

Current Seattle JACL President Sarah E. Baker has chaired both Family and Family 2.0. For any questions about the event or future support group meetings, please email her directly at: apilgbtqevent@gmail.com.

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