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Pride Flag Raised for Second Year

On June 4, members of the San Francisco Japantown Rainbow Coalition (JRC) raised the pride progress flag in the historic Japantown Peace Plaza to celebrate the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community and to call for a more inclusive society.


For the second year in a row, the pride flag proudly flew alongside the national flags of the United States and Japan.


Working with Japantown organizations, community members, the Japan Center malls, and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks, the JRC created a wonderful program of performances and speakers.


Queer Taiko, under the direction of founder Kristy Aki Oshiro, opened the afternoon with an energetic set. District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston spoke on the importance of visibility and safety and anti-Asian hate.


The Japanese American Religious Federation (JARF) followed with blessings: Rev. Gary Barbaree represented the Christian faith and I, as BCSF Minister’s Assistant and JARF President, represented the Buddhist tradition.


Speakers included Stan Yogi and Christine Miyashiro, who spoke on behalf of Okaeri (“Welcome Home”), a Nikkei LGBTQ+ organization that fosters community and offers support, resources and information. QTAPI (Queer Trans Asian Pacific Islander) Coalition brought QTAPI founder and the event’s master of ceremonies, Nick Large.


I was honored to be asked to speak on my own queer history, the dark history of queerness in the United States, including incarceration, institutionalization, conversion therapy, and more, and the importance of love and compassion within our families and communities.

The event closed with an exceptionally entertaining drag performance by “Christy Yummykochi” (Nick’s drag persona) which included four costume changes.


A special shout out to BCA Minister’s Assistants Darcy Nishi and Tara Umemoto, both founding JRC members, for their steadfast efforts to bring the event to fruition.


As I reflected at the close of my talk: “To me, the pride flag is beautiful because it represents life. A precious and unrepeatable impermanent life. And yet, a life so deeply interconnected with everyone and everything.”


Namo Amida Butsu




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