Way back when I was just coming out, I was confused. Of course there was the usual internalized confusion of "what," but I was also struggling with the ever looming question of "how." How was I going to come out to my parents and stare down their expectations. Coming out means coming to grips with that, and I hadn't the faintest idea how to do it *and* keep my family intact. Yes, I had queer friends in my support network; they were all white; we went to Boston Pride together.
And that is where I was standing, 20 deep in the sea of people casually observing from the sidelines when the folx from QAPA marched by. One of them saw me, and aggressively pushed through the crowd in order to flyer me. It was the only time I enjoyed being racially profiled.
Seeing them frolic down the street was the very definition of "Pride." They enjoyed being with each other and painted an enviable picture for a happier future. A future where I could be BOTH Queer AND Asian, something that I had simply not even considered.
It's been 20 years since that experience, and QAPA still serves that valuable and necessary link to community. In fact QAPA has been getting it done for almost 40 years. Decades of shared coming out stories over dumplings and dim sum. Hundreds of hours discussing the intersection of race, gender, sexuality and religion over a hot bowl of congee. And thousands upon thousands of origami cranes, tenderly folded over appletinis.
In a couple of weeks, members of QAPA, past and present from across the country, will gather to celebrate. We celebrate the work that was done then, and the work that continues to get done. We will assume our place in queer history as the oldest LGBT API organization in the United States. Come to our gala. Honor our past. Celebrate the "we." Be part of history.