16 organizations Getting to Know Each Other to support LGBTQI rights

By September 15, 2023 Newsroom, Regional

APCOM is leading on the project “Supporting LGBTQI Rights in Asia: Connecting Voices for LGBTQI Socio Economic Inclusion and Human Rights in Asia” supported by Global Affairs Canada which aims  to improve local LGBTQI organizations’ ability to represent and advocate for LGBTQI persons’ welfare towards shaping gender-sensitive policies and programs in five countries in Southeast Asia; Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, and Thailand.

After months of identifying LGBTQI organizations in the five countries, we finally got a chance to informally meet with each other online and get to know a bit more about each other. 

“The session made me very excited about the whole project! Connecting with international organizations, while also empowering local organizations along  the way, inspires me to persevere more for the LGBTQI advocacy.”

Angel Aquino, Babaylanes Inc., Philippines

“I feel connected to the partners in other countries and the APCOM team. Realizing that we are in one vision and mission, one way to realize the existence and proper access for LGBTIQ community, especially in Indonesia. I am optimistic to make it happen.” 

Yudi (Bambang Prayudi), Suara Kita, Indonesia

The sessions were organized ahead of the more formal online project orientation, and the Zoom meeting took place on 27 and 28 July 2023, and brought about 30 representatives from 16 organisations including APCOM’s project staff, 5 national country partners (Babaylanes Inc., Micro Rainbow Cambodia, Service Workers IN Group Foundation (SWING), Community Health and Inclusion Association (CHIAs), and Suara Kita), and 10 sub-national country partners (Beautiful Life Organisation, Love is Diversity, Gaylam, Srikandi Pakuan, Don’t Stop Dream Team, Takieng Lao Association, Glamourosa Catarman, LBTQ Organization against Violence and for Equality (LOVE),  Health and Opportunity Network (HON), and Pink Monkey Organization). 

“It is very nice that we have a space to introduce ourselves on what we are doing, what we did in the past, what we have been through today, and why we are here to make the society a better place. From the session, we understand each other more. It would be better if we could meet each other in person soon.”

Choovit Thongbai, Pink Monkey Organization, Thailand

Through the casual activities for self-introduction by answering prompt questions, all the members got a good chance to get to know each other more, while building relationships among other partners and engagement to the project. For some, this is the first time they get to engage with other LGBTQI groups outside their country. One of the activities, for example, they are asked to prepare one picture of themselves at a younger age and present it during the session of what happened in this picture and why they chose this picture, so everyone knew other people than just working but personal beliefs, life, and feelings. 

There were moments when something very personal was shared that connected us all to why we are striving for equality, and doing what we do. Some moments there were laughter, inspiration that fires our passion, and moments of silence and sadness as we realise some of our friends work in a very difficult environment. 

“I was very excited to join the getting to know you session hosted by APCOM – but also a little bit nervous as we have very little experience with grants. However, my mind was put at ease when I saw all of the friendly faces pop up on my screen, and after getting to know everyone’s backgrounds and experiences. It felt good to be amongst like-minded people all working toward the same goal. I’m so looking forward to seeing what we can all achieve together!”

Jason Argenta, Beautiful Life Organization, Cambodia

We appreciated the sharing of photos and stories that participants feel they are in a supportive and safe environment to share. 

The project’s outcome is to advance gender equality and human rights by LGBTQI persons in the five countries, and we hope the online session has helped build trust for our collective journey together, and of course we look forward to when we can all meet in person!

“I am very appreciative to be a part of this project supported by Global Affairs Canada. This project provides a great opportunity for new LGBTQ organizations in Laos in terms of organizational strengthening, creating a supportive environment as well as inclusion policy for LGBTQ people where they are able to be free and express themselves without stigma and discrimination, particularly in the workplace.”

Olam Rasaphonh, Community Health & Inclusion Association (CHIAs), Laos

Information on the project “Supporting LGBTQI Rights in Asia: Connecting Voices for LGBTQI Socio Economic Inclusion and Human Rights in Asia”

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