Larry was born in Jamaica of Hakka Chinese immigrant parents; he is a founding member of the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals & Gays, J-FLAG . He had previously organized a gay group in Jamaica, the Gay Freedom Movement (GFM) as early as 1978 in a fiercely hostile climate. He held the position of General Secretary and was Publisher and Editor of its newsletter, Jamaica Gaily News .
A leader and active participant of the community for equal justice, Chang came to the U.S. as a refugee in 2000, and was granted political asylum in 2004. He currently resides in Washington, D.C., where he continues to educate and work for equal justice in the United States and for Jamaica. He is featured in the Phillip Pike documentary, Songs of Freedom, which had its world premiere in Toronto in January 2003, and has been shown in selected US cities, Toronto, Montreal and Kingston. He also appears in Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World , which documents the struggle for human rights of LGBT people in the global south; it premiered at the New York Film Festival in June 2003.
He completed Religious Science Studies to Level 3 under Dr. Rev. Elma Lumsden at the Temple of Light Church of Religious Science in Kingston, Jamaica, and has been profoundly influenced by Zen Buddhism. Introduced in May 2006 to much acclaim at Book Expo America, Larry’s anthology of quotations, Wisdom for the Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing is now available in bookstores and online, as well as the follow-up, Wisdom for the Soul of Black Folk . He’s currently at work on Wisdom for the Soul of Queer Folk, slated for release in 2008.
He has the enthusiastic support of many scholars:
“Larry Chang is a first-rate activist, and a superb thinker and analyst of political/social issues. Anyone who hears him speak will not be disappointed.”
– Thomas Glave
Assistant Professor, Department of English, General Literature and Rhetoric
State University of New York (SUNY), Binghamton, NY, USA
Author of Whose Song
“Larry Chang brings a special spirituality to whomever he meets. He has the amazing ability to transcend race, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual orientation in his efforts to heal the planet. His wisdom might well be the path that we need to lead us to both individual and global peace.”
– Jerry Wright
Professor, Social Work and Anthropology
Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia, USA
“… dependable, thorough, focused, and knowledgeable about the arts … He is not, however, limited to being an “expert” in the arts. His interests are diverse, and he has been able to combine history, mathematics, anthropology, psychology, and sociology into an integrated whole that define him as both an intellectual and a practitioner of his craft.”
– Davilla T. Davis
Former Professor/Director, Study Abroad Programs
Morris Brown College, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
“I have had many opportunities to meet with Larry Chang. Invariably I have come away greatly enriched. He is a man of enormous knowledge and wisdom, an excellent counseller and speaker, a true humanist. I have learned a lot about Jamaican culture, about spirituality, about human nature, from him.”
– Wolfgang Binder
Professor/Academic Director, North American & Caribbean Literatures
University of Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany
“Larry Chang is original and insightful. He is a speaker well worth inviting to provide new perspectives and stimulate discussion.”
– Frank H. Wu
Professor, Howard University School of Law
Washington, DC, USA
Author of Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White
Larry Chang is an ENGAGING SPEAKER with experience as a SPIRITUAL COUNSELOR, WORKSHOP FACILITATOR, WRITER and ARTIST. His diverse background caters to a spectrum of communities such as the LGBT, People of Color (POC), Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI), Caribbean Diaspora Communities and in fields of LGBT, Asian-American, Gender, History, Latin American & Caribbean Studies.
Background and Topics:
– with training in Religious Science and dharma study, Larry assists in the exploration of life questions within the paradigm of the sanctity and beauty of the individual ensconced in and inseparable from the multidimensional whole. He has developed a playful yet incisive tool, reading Wisdom Cards a la Tarot, to facilitate this process. His ideas are even now coalescing into a discourse known as I-sight.
– based on training and experience in the human potential movement and drawing from experience of working with LGBT, spiritual and alternative health groups, artisanal and rural micro-entrepreneurs.
“Larry Chang was contracted to provide technical design expertise and training in product development to mainly small and medium size enterprises focused in the innovative industries. He has a capacity for connecting with the client and assisting in bringing forth their highest potential.”
– Valerie Veira, CEO, Jamaica Business Development Centre, Kingston, Jamaica
WORKING WITH DIVERSITY/BUILDING BRIDGES
– being an Anomaly: Asian in Black Jamaica, Gay in homophobic Jamaica, Asian-Jamaican in African-America, Hakka in predominantly Cantonese Chinese-America, Free-Thinker in an increasingly Fundamentalist Orthodoxy, Exile with no Country, A ROLE FOR THE ETERNAL OUTSIDER.
WORKING IN THE LGBT PEOPLE OF COLOR COMMUNITY
HISTORY of Gay Activism in Jamaica, Chinese in Jamaica, Legacy of Slavery in Gender Roles, Violence & Homophobia
INTERRACIAL RELATIONSHIPS : Asian/Black intimacy
THE TYRANNY of anal sexism among MSM
Larry is available to individuals, groups and organizations as a presenter and facilitator at a nominal fee. He is initiating a new service,
SoulVentures – Exploring the Possible
offering counselling, coaching, imagineering, spiritual/holistic marketing and promotion.
Recent Presentations Include:
Participant, HIV Community Coalition Seminar on Religion, Spirituality, and Sexuality
Washington, DC, February 2002
Panelist, 12th Biennial Midwest Asian Pacific American Student’s Conference, “Transcending Boundaries: Communities, Crisis, and Resistance”
Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH, March 2002
Presenter, Asian Pacific American Awareness Conference (APAAC): “Affirming Identity”
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, April 2003
Presentation/Workshop – “Building Then Breaking Out of the Box: Claiming, Creating and Transcending Identities”
Panellist, “Examining Jamaica’s Policy towards Homosexuality & Dealing with the Impact of International Scrutiny”
presented by Jampact , St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY, January 2005
Speaker, Amnesty International 2005 Get On the Bus Rally
All Souls Church, NY, April 2005
Speaker, hosted by Rainbow Pride Union
SUNY Binghamton, NY, April 2005
Panellist, “Beyond the Music: Reggae and the Cultural Contours of Homophobia,” Stanford University Black Law Students Association Conference, Stanford, CA, February 2006
Speaker, hosted jointly by Amnesty International and Lambda Union
Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH, April 2007
Speaker, hosted jointly by Asian Students Union and Rainbow Pride
SUNY Binghamton, NY, April 2007