Invisible to Invincible: 
Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago

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This blog will feature news and updates from i2i posted by Regular Members and the Core.

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i2i Speaks at Rush Medical School for APA Heritage Month

Posted by i2iAdmin on June 10, 2014 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (3)

Thanks to Core Member I Li for representing i2i and speaking at Rush Medical School for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! Here's what I Li had to share with students, staff and faculty:


On Thursday, 5/29. In honor of Asian Pacific History Month I had the privilege to speak with Alzheimer’s disease center staff at Rush Medical School on providing optimal care for LGBT patients and study participants.


It was great to be able to share my hit and run accident story, tell about my continual journey of coming out. It’s great to be in a space with many attentive and allies of LGBT. I had a DO + DON’T list from personal experience and knowledge. As I went over them, I reminded the audience that they’re providing medical assistance, so please don’t let your ”morality philosophy” get in the way. A few things that really stood out to me from the Q + A after my presentation:


- Explaining why it’s empowering to use the term queer, by taking back a word that was used negatively in the past.

- When I might be down or sad I focus on the positive and think of all the things that are for me rather than against me. To me, the cup is often half full.

- I emphasized the importance of telling youth that LGBT are just like you and I. We’re not aliens, but your relatives, friends, neighbors and etc.

- In culture that place so much weight on “saving face”, it is wise to tell your LGBT story (coming out) in creative ways, like by inviting a girlfriend or boyfriend to family functions.


Passages Hospice LGBTQ 101 Training

Posted by i2iAdmin on January 12, 2014 at 12:30 PM Comments comments (0)

By i2i Core Member Liz Thomson

Liz Thomson with i2i member & Passages staff, Randy Kim


On Thursday, January 9, I did a training at Passages Hospice, in Lisle, IL for about 45 staff members. The training had been organized through the advocacy of another i2i member, who works at Passages. We had met a few months ago and had connected because of our aging parents. We both talked about our challenges with our moms, siblings, and anxiety around “coming out” to different healthcare workers. In late November, i2i had organized a panel of LGBTQ adults and eldercare issues.


For me, I honestly did not know what to expect. I knew this was the first LGBTQ 101 training they had organized. This training also was different for me, because thinking about hospice and end of life is more of a reality. As I searched throughout the web site for words like “gay” or “lesbian” and their mission, values, and diversity statement, I also learned about how the company got started and their patient and family centered philosophy.


There were a variety of folks in attendance for this monthly regional meeting. They ranged from social workers, administrative staff, Chaplains, and CNAs. I emphasized in the very beginning, that I wasn’t here to change anyone’s personal or political beliefs, but being more educated about LGBT communities would positively affect how they work with their colleagues, volunteers, patients, and their families.


As I mentioned before, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised when many of the staff members really opened up and shared stories about their patients and even their family members. I think they appreciated the space to be able to talk about the subject. There was great discussion about how to affirm one’s gender identity if you don’t know. We talked about modeling introductions with name and pronoun(s) or no pronoun. I mentioned genderqueer and later a staff member bravely came out as genderqueer and thanked me for including that identity.


Yes, I know LGBT folks are truly everywhere. We are electricians, retail workers, CTA bus drivers, teachers, executive directors, and CEOs. We are hospice care workers. For me, I enjoyed learning more about the way hospice works and how they care for the loved one until they pass. I hope that the staff gained knowledge and awareness of the diverse LGBT communities.

i2i Participates in the Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade

Posted by i2iAdmin on March 2, 2013 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Approximately 13 members of Invisible to Invincible: Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago (i2i) marched in the 101st Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade, on Sunday, February 17. The contingent was the first all Asian American LGBTQQ community organization to participate. In the past, many i2i members have watched the parade and engaged in outreach by passing out flyers, but this was the first year they inquired about marching.


“We weren’t sure of the registration process, cost, or how we might be received,” says Liz Thomson, “But we were really happy when the Special Events Committee was open, receptive, and welcoming.”


Over 30 organizations participated ranging from non-profits to three different high school marching bands. The parade audience turned out in the thousands with the help of a sunny day and reasonable temperatures.


“The response from the crowd was great, positive, and very empowering. Hearing the emcee of the parade committee announce “i2i” was also a great moment of recognition,” comments Ryan Viloria.


Nebula describes how personal the experience was for her. She explains, “When I was ‘outed’ to my family, my mom told me, ‘I raised you to be a good Chinese girl. Why would you do this to me?’ I can’t believe we were invited to march today in a Chinese Lunar New Year celebration. I found it very moving marching up Wentworth waving a big rainbow flag. As a queer, Chinese Chicagoan, nothing could mean more to me.”


Sam feels like different facets of his life were coming together in the same moment.


e continues in reflection saying, “I’m so honored and excited to be part of this historic moment in the queer, transgender API community here in Chicago.”


After the parade, members and allies held their monthly social potluck at a member’s apartment in the neighborhood to continue the community-building.


For more information on Chicago i2i, visit www.chicagoi2i.org or find us Facebook and Twitter. Invisible to Invincible ("i2i") is a community-based organization that celebrates and affirms Asians & Pacific Islanders who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Queer in the Chicago area.


For pictures, visit i2i's Facebook page.

Join the i2i Core!

Posted by i2iAdmin on December 11, 2012 at 10:30 PM Comments comments (0)

i2i is now taking applications for anyone who wants to be part of our Core.


The i2i Core devotes time, energy, & love to celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, & questioning Asians, South Asians, Southeast Asians, & Pacific Islanders in the Chicago area. As a subset of i2i's general membership, we help plan programs & events, chair i2i's committees, help expand i2i's membership, & more.


Download the application below & email us at chicagoi2i@yahoo.com if you have questions.


2012 i2i Core Application

i2i Congratulates Representative Mark Takano!

Posted by i2iAdmin on November 26, 2012 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

On November 6, 2012, Mark Takano (and five other Asian American/South Asian/Pacific Islander politicos) made history, becoming the first out queer person of color to be elected to Congress. i2i Core Member Nebula Li wrote this heartful statement congratulating his victory. Parts of this statement were published in the post-election coverage of The Windy City Times.

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I didn't have a lot of Asian American role models portrayed in the media growing up in the 80's and 90's. My mom would tell me I should pursue journalism or ice skating so that I could be the next Connie Chang or Michelle Kwan. When I decided to pursue law, my mom told me that I could be like Condoleeza Rice, who was one of the only high ranking women of color that my mom knew of - neither of us knew of any famous Asian American politicians. Although my life's passion is to serve my community, I always assumed that being an openly queer woman would prevent me from doing so as a elected official, putting aside the fact that my racial community is often considered to be perpetually foreign.


As a queer, Asian American people's lawyer, I am inspired by Rep. Takano's success. He brings much needed visibility to a community struggling to be seen. He reminds the world that not only are there queer folks in the Asian American community - there are also Asian Americans in the queer community. We rule Facebook, write and report the news, serve our country, now, finally, write and pass national laws within Congress. His victory gives me hope that we, too, can be successful and be honest with who we are - and that the world is ready for us. Congratulations, Rep. Takano - your success brings me hope for my future and the future of queer people of color everywhere.


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