Accepting Diversity of People
– A Look at the Current State of LGBTQ Acceptance in America –
Date: April 18 (Tue.), 2017
Venue: Okuma Memorial Tower (Bldg. No. 26), B1 Multipurpose Lecture Room
Glenn D. Magpantay, (National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) Executive Director)
Marsha Aizumi (PFLAG (a United States-based organization for parents and allies of LGBT people) National Director)
Aya Yabe (PFLAG NYC – API Rainbow Parents Community Outreach Representative / Waseda University New York Alumni Association Vice President / LGBT Alumni Association Member)
A receptive audience of 88 people was on hand for this public lecture featuring speakers discussing the current state of LGBTQ acceptance in America, their own experiences as members of the LGBTQ community, the stories of families accepting loved ones as LGBTQ as well as to hear a message from the speakers to society. Mr. Glenn D. Magpantay introduced the NQAPIA, discussed the intersection of immigration and queer (a collective term for all sexual minorities) rights, as well as talked about the visibility of members of the LGBTQ community. Ms. Marsha Aizumi spoke about her own conflicts as a parent of a transgender child, as well as the lessons she has learned from her family. And Ms. Aya Yabe drew on her experience with society’s reactions to her lesbian daughter to make an impassioned appeal for the creation of a society where everyone feels welcome and accepted.
Audience members learned about what drives the speakers to action, how acceptance of one’s own sexuality can be a major hurdle to overcome, what it is like as a parent of an LGBTQ child, and many other powerful messages conveyed through each speaker’s moving story.
This lecture is available for viewing under the Movie options on the website of the Office for Promotion of Equality and Diversity.
*LGBTQ: “LGBT” is an acronym made up of “L” for “Lesbian” (women who are attracted to other women), “G” for “Gay” (men who are attracted to other men), “B” for “Bisexual” (men or women who are attracted to both sexes), and “T” for “Transgender” (people whose lived gender differs from that which is presumed by those around them or from their biological sex). It is a collective term used for all sexual minorities and is becoming more widely used in Japan in recent years. Sometimes “Q” is also added at the end, and it stands for “Questioning” (people who are still exploring, cannot decide on or who deliberately refuse to choose their sexuality) / “Queer” (sexual minorities for which the LGBT definition does not apply).
Attending this lecture made me rethink the question of what is “love.” Love comes in a variety of different forms in different parts of the world, but it seems these essentially fall into two categories. There is “love which is taken” and “love which is given.” How do we go about fostering the sort of love which is most fulfilling?
One of the speakers talked about her experience adopting a Japanese girl who later came out as transgender. No doubt the issue of sexual identity was an intense personal struggle for the child, but I am sure the mother herself had a variety of immense conflicts with which she had to struggle and overcome. She never used the fact that her child was different from others as a justification to tell her to “be normal (act like a girl).” Instead, she accepted her as she was and has continued to fight for her. Now her child is a man who is grateful every day for the mother who loves and accepts him completely. I feel that, surely, this act of unconditional acceptance, which is accompanied by a life of gratitude and joy, is love in the truest sense.
Rather than how you express your love, is it not more important what sort of heart you express your love from? It is up to each of us to decide whether we will take love, “I first want to be loved,” or whether we will give love, “I first want to give love.” The world is a better place when even just one person seeks to fill their own heart with love which they then give to others, regardless of sexuality.
Misa Hayashi, 2nd Year Student in the School of Law
（by SANKAKU NEWS No.18）