The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is gearing up for their first Midwest television ad launch of "Family is Still Family," a series of multilingual public service announcements that will air on Chicago ethnic media television networks from Feb. 14 to Feb. 28.
Co-produced by the Asian Pride Project, the PSAs spotlight stories of Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) parents and their LGBTQ children as they take a stand to declare their unconditional love and support. Each PSA ends with a universal message: "After all, family is still family, and love is still love."
"NQAPIA is really excited to launch our Midwest campaign to tell the story of Asian American parents — of love and acceptance that Asian American parents have of LGBTQ kids," Glenn Magpantay, executive director of NQAPIA told NBC News. "The country is so divided right now, the hate is just so intolerable and we need to bring communities together. We need the support of our parents and families to be there with us."
The multilingual videos will air 113 times on Crossings TV Chicago in Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, and Hindi, according to Magpantay. The television ads are estimated to reach approximately 53,406 Asian households in the Midwest.
The "Family is Still Family" campaign has been a joint effort across several organizations including NQAPIA, the Asian Pride Project, Invisible to Invincible, and Trikone-Chicago.
The PSAs initially aired in San Francisco and Los Angeles two years ago. The campaign has also aired in New York. The goal is to continue to expand the reach of the campaign to a growing AAPI population in the Midwest, Magpantay said.
"We did not want to have some people overlooked and so we are working on the campaign and now launching this campaign at a press conference in Chicago," he said.
The Midwest "Family is Still Family" campaign launch will kick off at a news conference hosted by NQAPIA scheduled for Feb. 16, which will feature testimonies from parents of LGBTQ children, including Joanne Lee, mother of Skylar Lee, a transgender teen who committed suicide in 2015 after a battle with depression; Ramachandra Balakrishnan, a father of a transgender child; and Aya Yabe, mother of a lesbian daughter.
"There is so much information about being gay, but so little information that is in Vietnamese or Hindi or Lao. We want to project a diverse face of the LGBTQ community and those who love us," Magpantay said.
The goal of the PSAs is to bring communities together during a time of increased hatred and division, Magpantay added, noting a spike in the number of intake calls to NQAPIA since the Orlando Nightclub massacre, election, and inauguration.
"So many people are coming to us for help, support, and information," he said.
Magpantay hopes the campaign will help promote understanding, safety, and bridge cultural divides that may prevent AAPI LGBTQ children from coming out to their parents, which can be particularly difficult in Asian families, he said.
"We hope that our campaign will promote that understanding of why we need to be safe and eventually also why we need to stand together in this difficult time," he said.
While the PSAs are a step in the right direction, Magpantay feels that there is still more work to be done.
"Now more than ever we need the support of allies, we need understanding from others on our experiences and the discrimination and harassment, not only LGBT people face, but South Asians, Muslims, transgender people. It's been a great response but it is not enough," he said.