GARDENA — People of all generations and backgrounds are invited to learn more about gender, sexuality and LGBTQ (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-queer) stories in the Japanese American community on Saturday, Oct. 4.
“South Bay Stories: A Nikkei LGBTQ Forum for Everyone” will take place from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute, 1964 W. 162nd St. in Gardena.
As part of the Japanese American Citizens League-Pacific Southwest District’s Nikkei LGBTQ Initiative, this will be a welcoming and educational panel event for anyone with any questions, curiosities, a desire to find community, and/or a desire to learn how to be a more supportive ally.
A panel of community members will speak to their individual experiences of navigating LGBTQ issues in the Nikkei community, as well as their hopes for LGBTQ inclusion and awareness in the future.
• Janet Uradomo lives in Torrance and is a proud mother of an 8-year-old transgender daughter. With the support of her husband, David, they have recently fully accepted their child as their daughter. Uradomo shares their journey of how they went from everything just “being a phase” to recently going from private to public school and the importance of support and acceptance at any age. Their story is an example of unconditional love.
• Melvin Fujikawa is a spiritual director and voice coach who lives in Torrance, and has served as senior pastor at Christian Layman Church in Oakland as well as the worship and community life pastor at the Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles in Rosemead. He and his partner, Mark, are active members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church in San Francisco.
• traci kato-kiriyama is a nationally touring writer/actor/multi-platform artist/educator/organizer living in Gardena. She is half of the award-winning PULLproject ensemble, whose show “PULL: Tales of Obsession” has toured from Los Angeles to Toronto, and recently appeared in East West Players’ two-person site-specific show “Our American Voice.” She is the organizer of the Generations of War oral history and peace education project and director/co-founder of Tuesday Night Project, which has opened its 16th season of “Tuesday Night Cafe,” acknowledged in LA Weekly’s “Best of L.A. 2013” list as “Best Free Downtown Performance Series.”
• Diane Ujiiye will moderate the panel. She is the outgoing executive director of Asian and Pacific Islanders California Action Network (APIsCAN); a member of Gardena Valley Baptist Church, where serves as women’s group facilitator and on the Neighborhood Ministry team; and serves as vice chair for AAPI Christians for Social Justice.
The Gardena Valley JCI, the South Bay JACL, the Greater Los Angeles JACL, and the Torrance JACL are co-sponsoring this event with the JACL-PSW District. The organizers of the event hope that attendees will learn something new and be moved by the engaging stories of the panelists. This event is completely free and open to the public with refreshments provided during the reception.
For more information, email program coordinator traci ishigo at email@example.com or call (213) 626-4471.