THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Queer non-Nikkei figures in Japanese American history (part II)

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of an ongoing series. Monika Kehoe’s experience with Japanese Americans served as a foundation for her later career, which involved working as an administrator and teaching English to diverse international populations (a point that will be discussed in depth later on). As she noted in the introduction to […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Queer non-Nikkei figures in Japanese American history

Editor’s Note: This is the first part in an ongoing series. Ever since I began writing “The Great Unknown” in 2007, I have had the pleasure of contributing an annual queer heritage column, which explores the nature of sexuality and the experience of lesbians and gays in Japanese American history. This year’s installment recounts the […]

For LGBT Asians, cultural barriers to marriage remain after DOMA

NEW YORK – When Jason Tseng first met his boyfriend at a support group meeting for gay Asian and Pacific Islander men in New York, he never would have guessed that three years later he’d be contemplating marriage. With the end of DOMA, the federal ban on same-sex marriage, they now have that chance. But […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: The civil rights politics and complexities of Nikkei ‘coming out’ as LGBT

This week’s entry represents the seventh annual column that I have produced for the Nichi Bei on the queer heritage of Japanese Americans. In past entries, I have explored such topics as the varieties of Issei sexuality, the turn to Western-style family models (and homophobia) within Japanese communities, and the community’s turn to support for […]

One family’s take on ‘the civil rights issue of our time’

TWO SPIRITS, ONE HEART: A MOTHER, HER TRANSGENDER SON, AND THEIR JOURNEY TO LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE By Marsha Aizumi (Arcadia, Calif.: Peony Press: 290 pp., $16.95 hard cover) Marsha Aizumi’s book, “Two Spirits, One Heart,” is a memoir about her experience as the mother of a child who comes out as a lesbian, then transitioned […]

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: The Japanese American fight for gay and lesbian rights

  This week’s piece represents a fifth entry in the series of annual columns I have produced for Nichi Bei on the Queer heritage of Japanese Americans. In past pieces I have looked at the hidden and sometimes complex sexual history of early Japanese immigrants; the evolution of widespread anti-gay prejudice in mid-century Japanese communities, […]

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 […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Understanding the queer heritage of Japanese Americans

Back in 2007, not long after I started writing my historical column “The Great Unknown and the Unknown Great” in the Nichi Bei Times, I established an annual tradition of marking LGBT Pride Week with a column on the queer heritage of Japanese Americans. It is a tradition that I am happy to carry over […]

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