Participants in the 2018 Okaeri Conference.

Whether you are local to Los Angeles or based outside of the U.S., you will be able to attend this year’s Okaeri conference as it is offering virtual and in-person workshops, meetups, and panels from Friday, Nov. 10, to Sunday, Nov. 12, at the Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave. (at First Street) in Little Tokyo.

Some sessions include: “When Dinosaurs Roamed: A Conversation with LGBTQ+ Over 40,” “Queering Family Gatherings,” “Boundaries,” “Collective Care,” “Interdependence” and more. “How to Be the Best-Ever Ally” will be held in Japanese.

“Who Tells Our Stories and How Do We Belong?” explores the complexities of family history research, such as the uncertainties of bringing its lessons back to family/community. This session processes how family history research and storytelling can achieve a sense of “belonging” to these histories, while also promoting the creation of independent and interdependent narratives for our queer selves and communities. Facilitators: Joseph Tsuboi, traci ishigo

“The Art of Holding Both: Embodying Fluidity for Mental Health and Trauma Healing,” an interactive virtual workshop, will explore the spectrum of our emotions and consider our biases of how we label each of them. Participants will take time to get creative with some somatic expressive arts practices in order to get in touch with the range of emotions that may exist within our bodies at any given moment. Facilitator: Keila Gaballo

The conference will kick off with a welcome mixer at JANM. Come for the food and drinks, and stick around for Speed Friending and Drag Bingo Night activities hosted by Kristi Yummykochi, a member of the AAPI drag troupe the Rice Rockettes. Kristi believes that the way you tell stories matters and uses drag as a medium to reinterpret and control the experiences of her communities and family.

The fifth biennial conference is a gathering that centers the Japanese and Japanese American LGBTQ+ experience. The conference seeks to build community, educate, provide support, and foster understanding and inclusion for the Japanese and Japanese American LGBTQ+ community. While conference content centers on the specific interests, issues, and concerns of that community and allies, attendance is open to anyone of any age or background, regardless of how they identify.

COVID-19 protocol: To keep all participants as safe as possible, the following precautions will be maintained. All attendees are required to be fully vaccinated on their COVID-19 vaccines per the CDC’s definition effective Sept. 15. In addition, masking indoors is required except when eating, as well as a negative COVID-19  test within 24 hours of the event.

For a complete schedule, visit Registration:  

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