Metro Weekly

Party for Pride and Heritage

LGBT Asian/Pacific Islander community marks month

Organizers of Pride and Heritage, an annual celebration of the LGBT Asian-American and Pacific Islander community, are switching gears this year, hosting a sort of stripped-down social rather than their traditional awards dinner.

”We decided not to do an awards dinner,” says Gregory Cendana, a board member of the local Asian/Pacific Islander Queers United for Action (AQUA), ”but instead have an event where we can welcome and celebrate all the LGBT Asian-American, Pacific Islander youth that are going to be in town for the White House roundtable.”

The White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Initiative on Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are hosting a May 23 ”AAPI LGBT Youth Roundtable.”

The Pride and Heritage celebration will be a catered reception at Café Asia, 1720 I St. NW, on Monday, May 23, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., with a $10 cover.

”It’s important to have this event, especially because of this past year,” Cendana says. ”There have been many incidents covered in the media around bullying and discrimination and hate crimes around youth, especially youth of color, so we want to show people that there are youth who have contributed positively and who are thriving and doing well and are also being proactive and pushing our elected officials to do more for our community.”

Joining AQUA in presenting the 2011 Pride and Heritage celebration are Asian Pacific Islander Queer Sisters-D.C. (APIQS), KhushDC, the D.C. chapter of the National Asian Pacific Women’s Forum, and the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance.

Cendana said organizers of this year’s event will kick off a visibility campaign for the LGBT Asian and Pacific Islander community during this year’s event.

”The campaign is essentially an ‘I am’ campaign, to let more people know there are openly out people in our community.”