alicehom - AMERASIA JOURNAL0:l(1994:19-32 2 Stories from...

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AMERASIA JOURNAL 20:l (1994):19-32 Stories from the Homefront: Perspectives of Asian American Parents With Lesbian Daughters and Gay Sons’ ALICE Y. HOM Having been a classroom teacher since 1963, I have new knowledge that ten percent of all the students who came through my classroom have grown up and are gay and lesbian. . . . Because I cannot undo the past, I want to teach people the truth about homosexuality so people will not abandon these children.* These are stories from the homefront; the emotions, responses, and attitudes of Asian American parents about their lesbian daughters or gay sons. The stories attempt to shed some light on parents’ attitudes, and inform lesbians and gay men various ways parents may react and respond to their coming out. I focus on four themes that illustrate important concepts around understanding Asian American parents and their views on homosexuality. These themes emerged from the interviews: 1) the attitudes of parents before disclosure/discovery; 2) the attitudes and reactions of parents after disclosure/discovery; 3) disclosure to friends and their communities; and 4) advice for other parents. Sexuality is an issue rarely or never discussed amongst Asian families, yet it remains a vital aspect of one’s life. What are the implications of alternative sexualities in family situations? Coming out stories and experiences of Asian American lesbians and gay ALICE Y. HOM, a graduate student in History/American Studies at Claremont Graduate School, has a BA from Yale and an MA in Asian American Studies from UCLA. Grateful acknowledgments go to the Rockefeller Humanities Asian Pacific American Generations program for funding this project during 1992-93 and to the parents who courageously shared their stories. Thanks to Russell Leong for his lenient soul on deadlines and fine eye for editing. 19
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AMERASIA JOURNAL men have had some exposure and publication,3 however the voices of the parents are rarely presented or known. I found the majority of interviewees through personal contacts with individuals in organizations such as Asian Pacifica Sisters in San Francisco, Mahu Sisters and Brothers Alliance at UCLA and Gay Asian Pacific Alliance Community HIV Project in San Francisco. I met one set of parents through the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays group in Los Angeles. Obviously this select group of people, who were willing to talk about their child, might represent only certain perspectives. Nonetheless, I managed to pool a diverse set of parents despite the small size in terms of disclosing time and time lapse-some parents have known for years and a few have recently found out. I did receive some ”no” answers to my request. I also offered complete anonymity in the interviews; most preferred pseudonyms. Names with an asterisk sign denote pseudonyms.
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