HERO Awards 2021 Community Partners APN+, APTN and ILGA Asia Unveil much anticipated honourees list

By October 15, 2021 November 29th, 2021 Newsroom, Regional, What We Do


Supported by our Community Partner – APTN

Bhoomi Harendran

Sri Lanka

My name is Bhoomi Harendran and I am a transgender activist in Sri Lanka openly fighting for my community’s rights. I am also a television personality and an actress. I am the Founder and Executive Director of the National Transgender Network (NTN) in Sri Lanka, one of the leading Non-Governmental Organizations for LGBTIQ+ rights. We started this organisation in 2018. Though the organisation has a very recent history, my work for the community dates back a little more than a decade. I have been an active member of the community for 11 years now.

“I was genuinely surprised, happy, and humbly honored. In my entire career of 11 years, I felt like someone acknowledged me for the work I’ve done for my community.”

Chase Tolentino

The Philippines

I am a Filipino citizen of Chinese descent. Most of my grandparents all grew up in China but found their way to the Philippines. I was born and grew up on the island of Cebu, I am the eldest of two children and, being the eldest child of the eldest child of the eldest child, I was lucky enough to meet at least 4 of my great grandparents. The most interesting thing I’ve done with my life is becoming an advocate. It allows me to work with all kinds of people, have new experiences and challenge myself. I get to speak with politicians, government officials, nurses, doctors, students and teachers. I get to communicate to them the needs of my community, the solutions we need, and to educate them.

“I am surprised and at the same time happy. To be nominated must be a reflection of how many people I’ve touched over the years – and that’s what really matters, the difference we are able to make in others’ lives.”

Nisha Ayub


I come from a mixed- race background of Malay and Indian with my religion stated as a Muslim. My journey as an outspoken transgender activist started from my own experience being arrested and imprisoned because of my gender identity as a trans woman. I’m a transgender activist who has been advocating for the rights of the community here in Malaysia since 2007 till to date. I’m the co-founder of SEED, the first ever Trans-Led Organization in Malaysia looking into the development, social welfare, health and care of the community.  In 2017 we have also managed to open a transgender shelter targeting the elderly and a temporary shelter for emergency cases.

“I’m truly honoured and proud to be nominated as I believe that this recognition is important towards creating visibility of the community here in Malaysia. This recognition is also a platform to advocate for the community in a regional and international discourse.” 

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