See what LGBTQI in Asia would like to see at the Human Rights Conference

By September 2, 2022 Learning, Publications, Regional

APCOM is a proud regional community partner for the Human Rights Conference on
LGBTQIA+ in Sydney 2023, and we would like to ensure we have strong regional
LGBTQIA+ voices and representation at the Conference.

Applications for session proposals AND scholarships are now open for your submission!

Please make the submissions to ensure that we have great representation from our region. 

Not sure what panel discussions, roundtable discussions, fireside chats, capacity-building training or workshops to submit?

Have a read through our Asia regional consultation attended by representations from 13 countries for some ideas:

Here’s a summary:

  • One of the main issues with broad consensus was the desire to include/invite grassroots community organizers and organizations (who play a key role in mobilizing their communities and sensitizing stakeholders). “We should give priority to on-the-ground advocates, since it’s mobilization work that Is key to policy change.”
  • Intersectionality and inclusivity in the LGBTQI community was also high on the agenda and discussants wanted to see more representation of elders and disabled people, for example, who are less engaged in the movement as yet, and it might be a good idea for a pre-conference. Their involvement is critical “as Thailand, for example, and Asia generally, moves into an ageing society.” Including a diversity of LGBTQI-communities such as the kink and polyamorous communities, ethnic groups, refugees, and youth, is a priority so “we can see ourselves here.” Lesbian, bisexual, and transgender invisibility must be rectified, in particular by giving much more space to trans perspectives. How can we identify and solve transphobia within the queer community in Asia? 
  • Similarly, intersex issues were raised as relatively new for Asia with consequent low awareness. Mutual understanding among LGBTQ and I communities is inadequate. As intersex people, “LGBTQ issues are not in our daily life, so we don’t understand event though we are one of them. We (LGBTQ and intersex people) “belong” to each other and share intersectional issues, but here’s still misunderstanding and conflict” that should be addressed at the conference.
  • Everyone agreed that issues of LGBTQI well-being, self-love and self-care to heal and sustain our activists is a priority and culturally-appropriate programs are urgently needed. “We must build systems of support for our young/activists to prevent burnout and heal from the work. In Thailand, for example, where youth are challenging political and social systems and are fighting for democracy, burnout rate is high.”
  • There was overwhelming agreement that given Asia’s diversity as 60% of the world’s population, it must be adequately represented at the conference. “Let’s highlight our diversity, while bringing us to unity” throughout the conference. The need for optimizing Asia-regional collaboration and comparative learning opportunities is critical to learn from each other’s experiences; for example, in addressing the struggle with the colonial legacy of criminalization through Section 377-type laws.
  • We need a dual regional/global approach at the conference, that provides space for both Asia-specific themes that matter to us, and conversations on more global themes like conversion therapy, self-care/mental health. Within the Asia focus, tailor geographically-focused sessions on the shared culture of Greater China, Post-colonial Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia where ethnicity, religion, and languages are so diverse, etc. Allow space for how each region or country addresses LGBTQI organizing and activism in its unique context. Beyond Asia, we should use the conference for global solidarity work. We would also like to hear from the under-represented Middle East region by including more participants at the conference. Other unique populations and topics discussants wanted to see at the conference included North East Indigenous queer people and colonialism and a First Nations Gathering Space.
  • The policy and legal environment is of paramount importance and discussants broached numerous topics for consideration at the conference: legal gender recognition laws, decriminalization struggles, and SOGIESC and SRHR. Related to family law: marriage equality and related rights, including transnational same sex marriage; assisted reproductive technology and surrogacy (in Asia in particular), same-sex adoption. The social and family structure support also was of concern, for example in Japan, not just for the coming-out process but ensuring resources targeted to families of LGBTQI people in light of the conservative society, colonial histories, etc. Many participants concurred on the importance of these issues.
  • Expanding the venue/spaces for sharing of experiences and strategies and continuation for further discussions between organizations that is coordinated by the organization/s in the region (like when APCOM hosted the Asia Marriage Equality movement in 2018) to help bridge learning from each other and grow mutual capacity. “Even in Taiwan, after same-sex marriage acceptance, coming out is still a huge issue and should be discussed more.” Specifically suggested was the idea to host a Human Rights Coalition of Asian politicians (as with the Global Equality Caucus), addressing barriers to freedom of SOGIESC expression and peaceful public assembly, and a session on “Building Pride Organizations in a Hostile Environment.” On a related note, the issue of negative LGBTQI images in the media, and talking about social media, were also suggested. Also, addressing sexual assault in the LGBTQI community and building support.
  • Many important individual suggestions were made on the need to branch out into newer topics, such as “Queer in STEM,” and focusing on getting direct funding to communities. A session reflecting on the history of LGBTQI movement was also suggested. Private sector engagement with LGBTQI communities and the need to better engage to advance rights and address workplace discrimination and harassment was discussed, along with equality in job access. Everyone agreed the corporate sector should be engaged and their role considered in light of these challenges and violations.

Thank you so much for the participation from the region at the consultation, and good luck with your application!

If you need help with the application process please email [email protected]

Share this