This plenary offers us an opportunity to make intergenerational connections that uplift LGBTQ narratives within the context of Japanese American history, experiences and culture. From reflections on the WWII Japanese American Incarceration experience, LGBTQ advocacy within the Nikkei community, and unpacking Nikkei cultural norms, speakers from various generations and experiences will reflect on their Nikkei roots and our diverse community today.
Eric Arimoto (pronouns: he/him) is a 51 year old gay JA man, a Los Angeles native, a psychotherapist who specializes working with API LGBTQ people, and member of the organizing committee for Okaeri 2014 and 2016. He also volunteers his time to be a facilitator for San Gabriel Valley API PFLAG -a support group for family members, allies and LGBTQ persons who navigate race, gender, religions, culture, immigration status and non-Western values in the pursuit of an integrated identity. He is extremely proud of the JA community for recognizing the need for welcoming JA LGBTQ folk back to the village (the community at large) -where we belong!
AT Furuya (pronouns: they/them) is a transgender, non binary, queer, mixed race, survivor, florist, US historian, dog lover and goat daddy. They live in San Diego with their partner and mentor LGBTQIA youth.
Dean Mitsuaki Goishi (pronouns: he/him) was born in Poston, Arizona, Camp 3, during the imprisonment of all people of Japanese descent on the West Coast during World War II. After the war, his family settled in Reedley, just southeast of Fresno, California. Dean attended the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated with a B.S. degree in Business Administration. He was honorably discharged as a Captain after a three-year hitch in the U.S. Army. Dean has had a rich legacy of advocacy and activism around HIV/AIDS awareness for the API LGBTQ community. He was one of the founding director of the Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team (APAIT), which was the first API organization to address how HIV/AIDS in API communities and provide culturally and linguistically competent services. Dean’s vision has always been to provide a safe place where each API person living with HIV/AIDS has a safe and understanding place to come to for assistance. He has been given many awards through the last two decades, and was honored to be included in the Pioneers Project of API Equality-LA, where he was featured as a subject in one of their videos. Dean retired in January 2008 and now resides Florida with his now-husband, Tom Callahan. After a long 23-year “engagement,” both felt this was right and were married in November 2013 at the home of Tom’s brother in Portland, Connecticut. The following year, a Goishi family reception was held in Fresno, California, attended by Dean’s two brothers and their families.
Nikiko Masumoto (pronouns: she/her) was born in the Central Valley of California, spent her childhood slurping over-ripe peaches on the Masumoto Family Farm (an 80-acre organic farm in Del Rey, CA). She has never missed a summer harvest. In 2007 she graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Gender and Women’s Studies. It was there that she realized she wanted to return to the Valley to farm, but first she completed a M.A. in Performance as Public Practice from UT Austin. Her research focused on the performance of memory and Japanese American history. Daily, she apprentices with her father on the family’s small organic farm whilst continuing work in arts and community. She is currently a Future for Good fellow with the Institute for the Future, working on a creative place-making water project, and serves on several nonprofit and community boards.