Are you ready to nominate your heroes for the 8th HERO Awards 2024? 

By April 25, 2024 Newsroom, What We Do

Standing for HIV, Equality, and Rights, the HERO Awards is an annual gala event set in Bangkok, Thailand. The HERO Awards shine a spotlight on the region’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) communities, as well as those who made significant contributions to the HIV response in Asia and the Pacific region. 

Awards categories for this year HERO Awards are…

1. Business Ally Hero2. Community Ally Hero
3. Community Hero4. Community Organisation Hero
5. Health & Wellbeing Hero6. HIV Hero
7. LBQ Hero8. Social Justice Hero
9. Transgender Hero10. Young Achiever Hero

“We are pleased to once again support this year’s Trans Hero category of the HERO Awards, aiming to amplify the successes of trans activists and highlight the challenges trans individuals face in our diverse Asia-Pacific region.”

Nhuun Wannapong Yodmuan (she/her)
Human Rights and Advocacy Manager, APTN

“This year’s HERO Awards shine a spotlight on the indomitable spirit and determination of LGBTIQ activists who are at the forefront of change in our region. We recognize the critical need for unity and creativity in our advocacy by acknowledging their transformative work amidst formidable challenges. ILGA Asia is dedicated to amplifying these voices, reinforcing our commitment to advancing our shared mission for equality and inclusion with unwavering support.”  

Henry Koh (they/them)
Executive Director, ILGA Asia

“Each year, APCOM and APN+ unequivocally acknowledge the tireless dedication of HIV activists throughout the Asia Pacific region. This is not merely a competition to select winners and distribute awards. Rather, it is a solemn tribute to their unyielding commitment to advocacy, education, and compassion, all aimed at fostering a world that empowers and supports people living with HIV/AIDS.”

Davi Ardiansyah (he/him)
Program & Communication Officer, APN+


New LBQ Hero Category

Community members, supporters and allies throughout Asia and the Pacific region are invited to nominate individuals and organisations across 10 categories who directly help others, whose work is improving the wellbeing of others, or whose achievements are inspiring others: Business Ally, Community Ally, Community Hero, Community Organisation, Health & Wellbeing, HIV Hero, Social Justice, Transgender Hero, and Young Achiever. And our newest category LBQ Hero, which recognizes the work of a Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer (LBQ) person who has improved the lives of Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer people in any capacity in specific countries in Asia and the Pacific or across the region more broadly.

“Thank you very much to our community partners, APN+, APTN, and ILGA Asia for our 8th year partnership! This year, we are excited to announce the new LBQ Hero category, as we received feedback for the much needed platform to spotlight and make more visible the feminist and LBQ leaders in the region. Within the LGBTQI movement, LBQ activists and organizations remain underrepresented in leadership roles, and face restrictions on assembly and expression and are often underfunded.” 

Midnight (he/him), Executive Director, APCOM

Impact and result of HERO Awards 2023

HERO Awards 2023 was held on the evening of Friday 24 November at The Sukosol Hotel, Bangkok. Over 300 guests witnessed and honours exceptional individuals, organisations, and allies working on LGBTQI human rights, and HIV. 

Hosted by the German Embassy to Thailand, the event was opened by HE. Dr Ernst Reichel, the German Ambassador to Thailand. As Germany is the Co-chair of the Equal Rights Coalition, The Ambassador remarked that they are hoping to support the Thai Government to become a member of the Equal Rights Coalition, the first country in Asia to do so. “Moving forward together in Diversity, the APCOM HERO Awards Thailand, hosted by the German Embassy Bangkok, honors the champions of equality within the LGBTQI communities,” he said.  

17 individuals and organizations were honoured, with 11 receiving a HERO Award. This is the first time that Papua New Guinea received an Award for Community Organisation by KPAC (Key Population Advocacy Consortium), and was the only one from the Pacific region.

“KPAC is very grateful and privileged to work alongst partners and regional networks who have strengthened our foundation to be strong and influential at all levels of society. We would like to thank all like minded individuals in this gathering and watching online for the partnership and the recognition we are receiving today,”

commented KPAC representative, Lady Gaga and continued,

“KPAC would like to thank the regional level leadership that have elevated us to this level and all our champions who have mentored and supported us. Once again we are humbled and honored to receive this recognition. Thank You all from the bottom of our hearts. Gud nait tru!” 

Witnessed by Ambassadors from Canada and Luxembourg, and representatives of diplomatic missions from Australia, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and the US, and community representatives from 35 organisations in 15 countries across the region. 

“This accomplishment is not something that I did alone, and there are many others who deserve to share in this award. I would like to thank my LGBTQIA++ community members and Friends. I am very optimistic about the future. Our actions today will determine the future for the generations to come. The time to act is now! I am humbled and appreciative.” 

Angel Queentus (she/her),
Recipient of the Young Achiever Award category, Sri Lanka

HERO Awards 2023 also commemorated the 10th anniversary of APCOM’s founder, the late Shivananda Khan – a pioneering hero of the Asia Pacific response to HIV and LGBTQI health, rights and wellbeing. 

The event was held just ahead of Thailand’s Gender Diversity Rights Day on 29 November, the World AIDS Day, which was the 2023  theme of ‘Let Communities Lead’, and the Human Rights Day, which in 2023 celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The evening was filled with performances from Mr Gay World Thailand, Bangkok Gay Men’s Chorus, music by Daddy and Bear, and Queer singer Silvy of Warner Music. The finale show had the community representatives doing a fashion show, with messages of hope as they strutted down the runway to the cheers of amazed onlookers at how professional they all were. 


How would you like to support the event?

No matter who you are, how big your organisation, how small your agency, there’s always room for you to contribute and be a part of the community.

Apart from the visibility gained from the event, supporters will help raise awareness of human rights and strengthen LGBTQI communities in tackling stigma and discrimination, violence, harassment, inequality and inequity in the region, and promote intersectionality to other movements towards the global Sustainable Development Goals 2030.  

Furthermore, the contributions will provide immediate responses needed by the grassroots LGBTQI communities those in need in Asia Pacific under the campaign #APCOMpassion Emergency Fund.

Finally, the supporters will advocate to form new real HEROes for our LGBTQI and HIV communities now and in the future. All of these means that you are also our HERO who never leaves us behind.

[email protected] | +66 (0) 2399 1145

www.apcom.org/hero-awards


Why Embassies support the HERO Awards?

AUSTRALIA

GERMANY

SWEDEN

BELGIUM

THE NETHERLANDS

UNITED KINGDOM


Why Sponsors support the HERO Awards?

Thank you to our Regional Community Partners for your Solidarity 

Nachale Boonyapisomparn (she/her)
Regional Steering Committee and Thai Foundation Board
APTN

Henry Koh (they/them)
Executive Director
ILGA Asia

Davi Ardiansyah (he/him)
Young People Living with HIV Officer
APN+

“Recognizing all trans and non-binary heroes is revolutionary. Because mainstream history never taught us the legacy of trans people, it is our duty as activists for SOGIESC rights and trans rights to restore the legacy of trans people who put so much effort and dedication into advancing LGBTIQ+ human rights.”

The HERO Awards are a tribute to the unwavering commitment of LGBTIQ activists who have dedicated their lives to defending and promoting the rights of our communities. At ILGA Asia, we recognise the importance of supporting and recognising these leaders so that they can continue to carry out their pivotal work.”

“You don’t need big numbers to change the world and create impact. What you are doing right now is enough, even if you are only helping one person. When you give something with all your heart and soul to help and save a friend or a stranger, it is enough. Because one person is one life. And one life already matters.”


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