Arimoto, Riku Matsuda, Kameya
Eric Arimoto, Riku Matsuda, Harold and Ellen Kameya

PACOIMA — The San Fernando Valley JACL and JACL Pacific Southwest District announce “Nikkei Intersections: An LGBTQ Forum for Everyone,” to held Sunday, March 23, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St. in Pacoima.

People of all generations are invited to learn more about gender, sexuality and LGBTQ (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-queer/questioning) stories in the Japanese American community.

The panelists are:

• Eric Arimoto, a fourth-generation Japanese American gay man and a Pasadena-based marriage and family therapist intern whose clinical focus is working with LGBT persons — adults, youth, couples and groups — with special attention paid to multicultural perspectives, coming-out issues, self-esteem, relationships, existential issues, sexuality and addiction issues. He is interested in sharing his perspective that being gay and a Japanese son, brother, nephew, cousin, grandson, friend and community member are not mutually exclusive.

• Riku Matsuda, a senior intergroup relations specialist at the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations who has worked in areas of youth organizing, leadership development, gender justice and sexual rights, media justice, immigrant/refugee rights and multi-ethnic community-building. For the past 10 years, Matsuda has programmed public radio at Pacifica’s 90.7 FM KPFK Los Angeles. He spends his spare time organizing for social justice and co-parenting Gingko and Sabji, two amazing pitbulls.

• Ellen Kameya, who appears in the documentary “In God’s House: Asian American Lesbian and Gay Families in the Church.” She and her husband Harold, active leaders in their church, tell the story of their shock and confusion when their beloved daughter Valerie first came out, of the isolation and alienation they felt in their church, and of the importance of a church community in their Christian journey to grow in understanding, courage and love for their daughter. Born and raised in Hawaii, she has been a teacher in Los Angeles since 1963 and has three children and four grandchildren.

“We hope you, your family members, and friends join us … We will be having much-needed conversation in community together,” organizers said.

Refreshments will be provided. The event is free and open to the public, but donations are welcome.

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