Janice Mirikitani, poet, Glide Memorial Church leader, dies

SAN FRANCISCO — Janice Mirikitani, a beloved San Francisco poet laureate who together with her husband ran the city’s Glide Memorial Church, which caters to the poor and homeless, has died. She was 80. Mirikitani died suddenly July 29, the church confirmed in a message to supporters who were scheduled to attend a virtual justice […]

Report: Hate crime laws lack uniformity across the U.S.

NEW YORK — More than half a century since they were modernized, hate crime laws in the U.S. are inconsistent and provide incomplete methods for addressing bias-motivated violence, according to a new report by advocates for better protections. The report, first shared with The Associated Press ahead of its July 28 release, is a comprehensive […]

Japan court says same-sex marriage should be allowed

TOKYO — A Japanese court for the first time ruled March 17 that same-sex marriage should be allowed under the country’s constitution, a moral victory that does not have any immediate legal consequence but could bolster efforts for legalization. The Sapporo District Court said sexuality, like race and gender, is not a matter of individual […]

5 Queer Nikkei ancestors everyone should know about

As we uplift the achievements and ongoing struggles of LGBTQ communities this Pride season — which, friendly reminder, exists because Black trans women rioted against police violence — we want to highlight the stories of the queer ancestors within our own Japanese American community. Despite the often deliberate erasure of their contributions to our history, […]

L.A. ministers criticize anti-gay policy of United Methodist Churches

LOS ANGELES — Disturbed by the United Methodist Church’s continuing anti-gay stance, Revs. Mark Nakagawa and Sunyoung Lee, two local ministers with connections to Little Tokyo’s Centenary United Methodist Church, publicly criticized that decision and declared their continued support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer persons. The controversy followed the United Methodist Church’s Special […]

Queering the inquiry of Asian American art

QUEERING CONTEMPORARY ASIAN AMERICAN ART Edited By Laura Kina and Jan Christian Bernabe (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017, 296 pp., $90 hardcover; $40 paperback) This anthology grows out of a National Endowment for the Humanities-sponsored Summer Institute held at New York University in 2012, co-directed by Margo Machida and Alexandra Chang and entitled, “Re-Envisioning […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Unmasking the complexities of documenting queer Nikkei sexuality and history

This week’s column marks the 12th entry in the annual series on queer Japanese American history that I have undertaken to mark LGBT Pride Month. Previous entries have shed light on the nature of sexuality within Japanese communities, the rise and decline of homophobia, past gay activists and community debates over LGBT civil rights. This […]

Japanese American becomes majority owner of LGBTQ newspaper

Michael Yamashita, 51, publisher of the Bay Area Reporter, a San Francisco-based LGBTQ newspaper, became the newspaper’s majority owner, the publication announced Dec. 21, 2017. According to the B.A.R., Yamashita becomes the nation’s first gay Asian American publisher and owner of a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer newspaper. Yamashita, who previously owned 31 percent […]

Recognizing Japanese American lesbians’ activism, then and now

The season for gay pride is upon us. This year, there is extra cause for celebration with the selection of professor Amy Sueyoshi, a community activist and leading historian of queer Asian Americans, as a grand marshal of the San Francisco Pride parade. In addition to Sueyoshi’s own considerable qualities, the choice is gratifying on […]

Trying to regain hope in a time of fear and uncertainty

As the election polls started closing on Nov. 8, most of America was in a state of utter shock, as a presidential candidate who so easily stoked the flames of racism, sexism, xenophobia and misogyny was suddenly trust into the office of the presidency. A mere eight years after a movement for hope and change […]

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