Good afternoon! My name is Patrick Cheng. I am an ordained minister with the Metropolitan Community Church, and I’m also an openly gay Chinese American man. For nearly ten years, I have ministered to LGBT Asian Americans in New York City and across the country.
It means a lot to me to be here today, speaking about the Lunar New Year for All parade. One of my happiest childhood memories was attending the Lunar New Year Parade in San Francisco with my family. I can still see the lion and dragon dancers coming down Grant Avenue, hear the drums and music, smell the firecrackers, and taste the yummy dried coconut snacks! For one night each year, we all came together as one big family and showed our ethnic and cultural pride to the city and to the world.
Recently, a number of misguided Asian American Christians have used homophobia, fear tactics, and outright lies as a way of dividing our families and communities. Not only is this morally repulsive, but it also inflicts great suffering upon our own sisters and brothers.
- I think about the Korean American lesbian who was threatened with physical violence by her parents and siblings after she came out.
- I think about the spiritually gifted Chinese American man who was rejected by his church community just because he was gay.
- And I think about the many LGBT young people of faith who are terrified of coming out to their families and communities because of their fears of discrimination and rejection.
But there is hope. I have been blessed with a wonderfully supportive family during the nearly twenty years that I’ve been out to them. In fact, my late grandmother, Wai-Puo, always treated my partner as if he were my spouse. She would cook delicious food for him, and she would give him a red envelope every year for the Lunar New Year. She really set the example for my entire extended family! My mom carries on Wai-Puo’s legacy today by coming all the way from Virginia just to be here with us this morning.
Homophobia is not a family value, a religious value, or an Asian American value. LOVE is! And that’s why I’m so excited that the Lunar New Year parade this year will truly be a celebration for ALL! Thank you.
About the Rev. Patrick Cheng
The Rev. Patrick S. Cheng is an ordained minister with the Metropolitan Community Church and has ministered to the LGBTQ Asian American community for the past decade. Patrick recently completed his Ph.D. degree in systematic theology from Union Theological Seminary, an affiliate of Columbia University. Patrick is also a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School. He lives in New York City with Michael, his partner of 18 years, and their six-month old puppy. For more information about Patrick, visit http://www.patrickcheng.net.