Family Acceptance within Families of Color
Lead by Example
Marsha Aizumi, PFLAG San Gabriel Valley Asian Pacific Islander, PFLAG National Board, Isolda Atayde, PFLAG National Board, Kelly Brooks-Hailey, PFLAG Columbia/Howard County, and Sheila Lopez, Native PFLAG
Workshop Block 2: Saturday, October 21 - 1:45 pm - 3:15 pm
Sallon D

Four parents of LGBT children from Asian, Latin, Native American, and African American backgrounds will share their stories of transforming parent’s fear, shame, and guilt into unconditional love and acceptance for their children and the broader LGBTQ community. Participants will discuss the challenges and successes in building acceptance in their families, extended families, and communities that have own unique challenges of cultural and language barriers. Participants will also develop a deeper understanding of family dynamics, gain strategies, resources, and support to create stronger connections within their families and the LGBTQ communities they are part of or serve.

Presenter Bios

Marsha is an author, national and international speaker, educator and advocate for the LGBTQ community. She serves on the National Board of Directors for PFLAG. Marsha is co-founder and current President of PFLAG San Gabriel Valley Asian Pacific Islander. She is author of Two Spirits, One Heart, a memoir that chronicles her journey from fear, shame and sadness to unconditional love and acceptance as she navigated the transition of her son from female to male. Marsha’s writing has appeared in Huffington Post, Diverse Elders, Reconciling Ministries Network and she is a columnist for the Pacific Citizen. She has received honors from Congresswoman Judy Chu as a Community Activist in 2014, was named Trailblazer Parent for 2015 by Logo TV and in 2016 was recognized for her work in the transgender community by Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team. She has been married for 45 years and is the proud mother of two wonderful sons.

Born and raised in Mexico City, Isolda Atayde found her passion in advocating for LGBT rights in Mexico and Latin America, focusing on gender expansive children and transgender youth. While living in Mexico City, she founded the first support group for parents and caregivers of gender expansive children and transgender youth. She was one of the 50 LGBT activists from around the world invited by OUTRight International to advocate for transgender and gender expansive children and teenagers in meetings with different United Nations country missions. As of September 2016, she is part of PFLAG´s National Board of Directors and part of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Kelly Brooks-Hailey is a graduate of UMBC with a Bachelors degree in Psychology and is pursuing her Masters degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.  Having become a Leadership Essentials graduate from Loyola Sellinger School of Business, she is an emerging leader and entrepreneur within her community.  She currently serves on the Steering Committee of PFLAG Howard County developing an outreach project to various POC communities in Howard County, Maryland.  Kelly has worked in the human services field for over six years serving vulnerable populations within the Baltimore area.  Her primary focus is LGBTQ and women’s self-empowerment however, she has a passion to serve, educate, and empower all those who desire to live a life of peace, freedom, abundance, wealth, and joy. 

Sheila Lopez joined PFLAG in 2009 after her two oldest children came out as gay.  She has been supporting the community since that time and in 2011 founded a chapter focused on Native American families in Phoenix, AZ.  The chapter is known as “Native PFLAG” and they collaborate with other non-profits to support the local and surrounding Native American Communities.  Her passion and dedication to the community and PFLAG’s mission lead her to be named a 2015 LogoTV Trailblazer Parent. 

Return to We Are the Change: The 2017 PFLAG National Convention.