Gay and Lesbian Asian Groups March in Lunar New Year Parade For First Time
Los Angeles —On February 4, a pro-gay and lesbian rights contingent joined the annual Los Angeles Chinatown lunar new year parade for the first time in its 107 year history. The contingent was organized by API Equality – L.A. , a coalition working in the Asian Pacific Islander (API) communities for equal marriage rights for same sex couples, and API Pride Council, a coalition that supports LGBT people within the API community. More than sixty participants wearing red (the traditional color of the lunar new year) marched, carried banners and greeted thousands of spectators lining the parade route. The contingent was received with smiles and applause and more than a few cheers.
The oldest participant was an 82 year old member of API Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays who smilingly and proudly walked the entire route. Leading the contingent were members of the San Gabriel High School Gay-Straight Alliance. Also in attendance were representatives of Asian American Queer Women Activists, Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team, the Filipino group Barangay, Chinese Rainbow Association, Gay Asian Pacific Support Network, and the South Asian group Satrang. Non-gay API allies, such as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center , the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, and the South Asian Network, marched alongside the LGBT groups in solidarity.
API Equality – LA is mobilizing support for equal marriage rights in response to efforts to place an initiative on the November California ballot that would amend the state constitution to permanently exclude same-sex couples from marriage and to dismantle existing domestic partnership benefits. The coalition is affiliated with the statewide equal marriage rights campaign, “Equality for All.”
Coalition leader Marshall Wong said, “This is a historic occasion. Today we come together to proudly join in this celebration and declare in no uncertain terms, our existence, our presence, and our place in this community.”