LGBT rights activist, Tak Yamamoto, dies

LOS ANGELES — Long-time Manzanar Committee leader Takenori “Tak” Yamamoto, of Los Angeles, died on Nov. 9, 2012, the Los Angeles-based Manzanar Committee announced in a statement issued Nov. 16. Yamamoto, 74, died of natural causes, according to long-time partner Karl Fish. Yamamoto’s family was among the some 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry who were forcibly […]

C(API)TOL CORRESPONDENT: AAPIs make historic gains on Election Day

Editor’s Note: A version of this column was originally posted on Bill Wong’s blog, http://thesunfire.blogspot.com. It was a historic day for Asian American Pacific Islanders throughout the nation. In California, the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus held their position as the second largest ethnic caucus in the state legislature, with 11 members, by winning four […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: The stigma of being different

Today’s column is a little different. Rather than exploring the life of some unknown person or theme in Japanese American history, as is my usual practice, it instead jumps off of a previous column, and follows my discussion about the column with friends, in order to make a larger point about Japanese American life. To […]

When pursuing love means crossing color lines and breaking sexual and gender hierarchies

QUEER COMPULSIONS: RACE, NATIONS, AND SEXUALITY IN THE AFFAIRS OF YONE NOGUCHI By Amy Sueyoshi (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2012, 248 pp., $40, cloth) Amy Sueyoshi, an associate professor at San Francisco State University, has produced an important and timely study of racial, class, sexual and gender hierarchies at the turn of the 20th […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Revisiting the JACL’s historic debate over same-sex marriage

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect the NAACP’s May 19, 2012 endorsement of same-sex marriage. Today’s installment of “The Great Unknown,” which marks my sixth annual column on the queer history of Japanese Americans, is devoted to commemorating the Japanese American Citizens League’s (JACL) historic marriage debate. As most of us are […]

Increase in HIV contraction in APIs, especially among women

HIV and AIDS may often be associated with the homosexual male demographic, but ethnic minority awareness groups are bringing light to the increasing rise in HIV infection in an unexpected minority group — heterosexual Asian and Pacific Islander women. May 19 marked the seventh annual National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Awareness efforts […]

Honda introduces bill to end immigration law discrimination

WASHINGTON — Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) on May 5 introduced the Reuniting Families Act in the House of Representatives, which according to his office, would help “ensure that visas are allocated efficiently, while alleviating lengthy wait times that keep legal immigrants, and their loved ones overseas, separated for years.” The bill also eliminates discrimination […]

Desperately seeking LGBT memories of World War II incarceration

Two years ago, I was invited to participate in E.G. Crichton’s project “Lineage: Matchmaking in the Archive” in which artists, writers and musicians were asked to respond to personal collections in the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society archive. I was “matched” with Jiro Onuma, a gay Issei who moved to the U.S. from Iwate […]

For a more queer-friendly Japanese America

This past May, a friend who volunteers for a Japanese-language bilingual program at a San Francisco public school faced harassment by another Japanese language teacher in the faculty lounge for being a lesbian. My friend Keiko had a rainbow pin on her backpack signifying lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride and a Japanese co-worker of […]

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