Ellen Tanouye is Japanese American and grew up in San Mateo, California. She has three sons, a brother, and a partner, Suzie.
She attended Stanford University for undergraduate and then attended Columbia University for graduate school. She received a Masters in Child Development. After connecting with someone at the San Francisco Theological Seminary, Ellen attended the Fuller extension seminary. Although working in church environments as an Asian American woman has been difficult sometimes, her passion for working with youth has always attracted the attendance of many young people and young families in all the church communities she has been a part of. After coming out, she found a loving and moving queer church community where she helped build an open and inclusive Sunday School curriculum. She has collaborated with other churches to bring this curriculum to more communities. Her work for API queer faith communities also comes through writing devotionals, sharing her experiences with other people, and being a resource for others in the journey to embracing faith and queerness.
But I didn’t know that I was gay. I always, my whole life, ever since I was very very little, I was always looking for a best friend who was a girl. And that was my thing is to have a best friend.