Dean Goishi, a trailblazing Japanese-American voice for HIV, LGBTQ and Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities, has died. His passing has been noted in numerous social media posts, but further details have not been reported.

With heavy hearts, we share the passing of Dean Goishi, Founding Director of APAIT.  Dean was a pioneering force in...

Posted by APAIT on Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Goishi was a cofounder and retired director of Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team (APAIT), a California-based grassroots AIDS service organization launched in 1987. Goishi also served on the board of NMAC (formerly the National Minority AIDS Council). An NMAC newsletter noted Goishi’s legacy:

“He was a trailblazer in the fight for Asian and Pacific Islander (API) inclusion in HIV care and treatment.


“Born in a concentration camp in Arizona, Dean’s early life as a Japanese American profoundly shaped his dedication to advocating for the Asian queer community and Asians living with AIDS. His lived experiences fueled his passion for teaching and helping others understand the unique challenges faced by his community.


“Dean’s legacy as an early and influential advocate will always be remembered for his commitment and contributions to the cause. He leaves behind a lasting impact, inspiring future generations to continue the work he championed.”

Today, APAIT operates locations in Los Angeles (in Koreatown) and Garden Grove, California; APAIT now stands for Access to Prevention Advocacy Intervention & Treatment, and its mission is to “positively impact the quality of life for vulnerable communities experiencing behavioral health challenges, housing insecurity, and at-risk for HIV/AIDS. APAIT is grounded by its core values of compassion, commitment, communication, empowerment, integrity, mentorship, respect, and teamwork.… APAIT historically reaches out to the diverse multi-ethnic communities of LA and Orange counties who identify as LGBTQIA-2S, immigrants and refugees, at-risk for HIV/STIs, housing insecure, and with behavioral health lived experience.”

In 2022, Okaeri Voices, an oral history project featuring aging LGBTQ and allied Japanese Americans, produced a video profile of Goishi in which he recounts his life experiences. You can watch it on YouTube and at the top of this article.

Similarly, API Equality-LA and APAIT created a video series titled Pioneers Project: Lifting Up Our History. One of the installments, posted on YouTube in 2014, features Goishi. You can watch it below: