Saturday, September 10, 2011

"Honor Thy Children"

First off thanks, everyone, for your patience while I took some time off from blogging to care for my five-year-old son post-surgery. He is now out of his surgical casts and is learning to walk again just like a baby. The house is a mess, my health is slightly neglected, and I spent way too much money on take-out and frozen food these past two months, but other than that we're doing great.

Okay, enough about me. For those of you who live in the Greater Los Angeles Area, I want to let you know about a unique opportunity to hear Al and Jane Nakatani speak at the Japanese American National Museum on Saturday, September 24 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. You can find more information at this Facebook page if you're interested. Or go to the JANM page and check out their Events Calendar.

In the book Honor Thy Children, Al and Jane Nakatani tell author Molly Fumia the story of how they lost all three of their children. Their first son, Glen, came out to them as a teenager in 1977 and they essentially disowned him. Glen later died of AIDS in 1990. Their second son, Greg, who was straight, was shot to death in an altercation in 1986. So when their third son, Guy, also came out as gay, Al and Jane were initially horrified, but they soon learned to embrace him unconditionally. Guy was diagnosed as HIV positive, and as he went around speaking at schools and businesses about homophobia and HIV, his father Al accompanied him. Guy died of AIDS complications in 1994 at age 26.

Since then the Nakatanis have traveled around the country speaking out about homophobia, bullying, teen suicide and the importance of loving your children unconditionally. While their message isn't necessarily religious, they are often invited to speak at churches. I understand that at the September 24 event they will be presenting a short film that chronicles their story. If I can resolve a scheduling conflict, I'm hoping to be there myself.