What an amazing year for you to be both Gen.T honouree for advocating for the rights of LGBTQ communities in Asia, and also making the Future List 2020 as Thailand’s Human Rights advocate.
How do you feel?
These were very much a surprise, because it is not by an agency that I normally have any contact with. I feel so blessed, and during the Coronavirus time, these honours are like silver linings. I feel affirmed in my work, and that APCOM is getting the recognition. The honours also go to our dedicated team members, and partners who have been part of the journey with us and continue to support us even during difficult times.
I think that it is great for Tatler Asia and Tatler Thailand to have something like this to recognise and profile activists and those working on social change, particularly on human rights in the region. I am grateful and humbled for this recognition.
Being selected as a young leader shaping Asia’s future, what does that mean for you and APCOM?
Tatler is a leading and very well known luxury media brand through its magazines, websites and experiences. What excites me is that the unique work of APCOM can be more widely known outside our NGO sector working on LGBTQ rights and HIV, building new bridges and partnerships to explore working intersectionality with sectors that we have not yet collaborated with. I am not yet sure what it would entail but will be looking forward to this opportunity and get myself out of my comfort zone and working closely with Tatler Asia and Tatler Thailand.
Do you feel like it is a recognition of all the work you did for APCOM after more than 10 years advocacy for human rights, especially for LGBTQ/HIV?
I am only a part of the long history of APCOM, which was formally established in 2007, and there are countless others that have contributed so much for APCOM, in particular the Founder of APCOM, the late Shivananda Khan OBE who had the vision and grit that gave us the foundation to build upon, bringing together governments, the UN system and civil society to help ensure that the critical issue of HIV, and human rights among gay men and transgender communities were included highly on health and wellbeing and social development agendas across Asia and the Pacific region. He passed away in 2013, and the honours are also the recognition for his efforts.
What do you wish for APCOM in the future?
We are actively exploring how we can add value to our community in across 30+ countries in the region, and in fact we are in the process of developing our new strategic plan. Given the effects of COVID-19, and we have to pivot our work to new realities that are amplifying inequity and inequality – sustainability is very high on our agenda as we went through a big restructure in 2019. I’d like to think that APCOM still walks the fine line between being a professional organisation and a friend that you can tell us about any of your worries – and we can lend an ear, share laughs and tears and give hugs, as well as finding solutions together. It’ll certainly be tough times ahead, and with stronger coalitions I think we’ll be able pull through.
What would you like to say to Tatler and its readers for these honours?
Tatler is widely known globally, and I would like to say Thank You to Tatler Asia and Tatler Thailand for recognising APCOM’s unique work, and to congratulate them for bringing together change makers across different sectors in the region to collaborate together.
APCOM is in the process of finalising our year end event hybrid on-line and off-line event – the APCOM Community Summit 2020 which we will also host our 4th HERO Awards on 27th November. The HERO Awards is our annual event that acknowledges outstanding HIV and LGBTQ advocates and allies from across Asia and the Pacific, and also our fundraising event. This would be a great opportunity for readers of Tatler to join and experience first hand what we do. I am also so very proud that Tatler Thailand is a media partner of the APCOM Community Summit 2020.
If there are readers and businesses that believe in equality, diversity and inclusive society, and good health & wellbeing for everyone, and would like to support our work, please do not hesitate to contact me on [email protected]
You can buy a ticket to attend HERO Awards 2020 here .