NYCAASC 2017 Workshops

<< Back to NYCAASC 2017

Track 1

Family Acceptance: API Perspective

Room 361

Description: Talking to your family members about sexual orientation and gender identity can be challenging within Asian immigrant communities because of generational, cultural and language barriers. What is the best way to start a conversation? Should you even tell them? As Asian immigrant parents of LGBTQ children, we will address some of these fears and examine family expectations and dynamics in a cultural context through personal stories and experiences. Attendees will walk away with a better understanding of where their family members may be coming from and ideas on how to engage them in these conversations.


Clara Yoon

API Rainbow Parents

Clara Yoon is a proud Korean mother of a transgender, bisexual son. She is the founder of the API Rainbow Parents of PFLAG NYC chapter, a group providing support for LGBTQ individuals and families of Asian heritage. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the PFLAG NYC chapter. Clara is a co-founder and President of Korean American Rainbow Parents (KARP). Clara is passionate about supporting and advocating for LGBTQ youths specifically to prevent bullying, suicide and homelessness. She believes in the importance of improving LGBTQ equality in homelands and faith groups to create better acceptance to LGBTQ individuals within the API communities. She conducted and spoke in many workshops and events across US, Japan and Korea on such topics.

Aya Yabe

API Rainbow Parents

A mother of a married lesbian daughter, Aya is a member of the API Rainbow Parents of PFLAG NYC and is involved with community outreach efforts. She aims to increase the visibility of Asian parents of LGBTQ+ children to normalize LGBTQ presence in society. Originally from Japan, she also has strong ties with the LGBTQ community in Japan. She volunteers as a Japanese language interpreter for non-profit student organizations who visit New York from Japan to learn about LGBTQ-related activism and translates information for various activists. With Clara Yoon, the founder of ARP, Aya was invited on the panel for a discussion session on the topic of coming out organized by Nijiiro Diversity, one of the prominent Japanese LGBT NPOs during the 2016 Tokyo Rainbow Pride Week. She is also a member of alumni roundtable for establishing Japan's first LGBTQ student center at her alma mater in Tokyo.

Aruna Rao

API Rainbow Parents

Aruna Rao is developing Desi Rainbow Parents & Allies (an initiative of API Rainbow Parents of PFLAG NYC) to serve South Asian families with an LGBTQ family member and LGBTQ people of South Asian origin seeking family support. Aruna is the proud parent of a queer child. She has been a community mental health advocate for the last sixteen years, and is currently an Associate Director at the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New Jersey (NAMI NJ). She is the founder of SAMHAJ, a program providing support for South Asians affected by mental illness, which received the 2011 SAALT Changemaker Award. Aruna's efforts to develop programs for minorities resulted in NAMI NJ receiving the 2014 Advancing Minority Mental Health Award from the American Psychiatric Foundation. In 2016 her work was recognized by the World Malayalee Council NJ Chapter, the NJ DoT Asian American Heritage Committee and Lions Club NJ. She received the 2014 Agraj Seva Kendra Notable Indian American of NJ Award, the 2003 Leadership Award from the NJ Asian American Association for Human Services, and the 2002 Multicultural Outreach Award from NAMI.