On June 17th, JACL members Phil and Marion Shigekuni, Yas and Nancy Gohata and Harold and Ellen Kameya traveled to the USC campus to attend a program to honor the pioneers in the API LGBT movement in Los
Honored by the API Equality Los Angeles (APIELA) organization was our Tak Yamamoto and June Lagmay, who in 1980 were founders of the Asian Pacific Lesbians and Gays, the first gay Asian organization in Los Angeles. The Pioneer Project of APIELA created two short videos that documented the achievements of these two pioneers.
Tak Yamamoto served as the president of our San Fernando Valley JACL in 1990 and was instrumental in getting the national organization to support same-sex marriage in 1994. June Lagmay has been active in local politics and Asian community affairs, and has the prominent position as the Clerk of the City of Los Angeles.
The event was held at the One National Gay and Lesbian Archives on the USC campus. Unfortunately, Tak was not feeling well and was unable to be at the event. Dean Goishi, founder and
retired director of the APAIT (Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team) told the audience that Tak Yamamoto was his mentor. From the stories I have heard, Tak was unapologetically open about his sexual orientation and did not let that impede his programs and accomplishments as the president of the SFV JACL.
June Lagmay has a Filipino father who met his Japanese mother in Japan. Raised in Los Angeles in all-girls Catholic schools, she met and fell in love with her wife while in elementary school. During the 1970s ‘flower power’ decade, it was not uncommon for girls in her Catholic high school to be walking hand-in-hand down the hallways. She married her longtime partner Rita Romero during the 2008
window when gay marriages were declared to be legal in the State of California.
Kameya is a Board Member of the San Fernando Valley JACL and, with his wife Ellen, has been a vigorous ally for the LGBT community.