Category Archives: conferences

Volunteers, Ambassadors and Emmisaries

We want you.

QAPA is hoping to strengthen our relationships with local AAPI organizations!  If you have a specific interest, talent or identity that you’re interested in exploring, we want you!

-Interested in films?  Be our liaison with the Boston Asian American Film Festival.
-Interested in Government?  Help us partner more with the Massachusetts Asian American Commission.
-Want to meet more Japanese people?  Be our ambassador with the JACL!

We are also trying to strengthen our speaker’s cabinet.  With our increased presence across NE, we have gotten more requests for speakers and tabling opportunities.  If you feel comfortable talking to people about being queer and Asian, please let us know!  We need more strong, out, proud QAPIs who are willing to share their stories.  Not ready for a panel, but willing to help us with a tabling event?  Let us know!  If you’re bilingual we could use your help translating information resources!

Don’t delay, there are exciting possibilities everywhere!  Contact qapa@qapa.org!

An LGBT Immigration Forum

Join us for a evening discussion about LGBT immigrants’ rights. In follow-up from last year’s successful Queer Immigrants’ Rights Forum, local LGBT Asian American and immigrant organizations will delve deeply into the current status of immigrant rights in Boston and at the federal level and its implications for the LGBT community.

Panelists will provide an update on developments from both the federal level in Washington, D.C. as well as on the local level in Boston; how immigration reform may affect LGBT individuals, and how the audience can get involved.

Cost is FREE! Light refreshments will be provided.

Information:

Monday, February 28, 2011
Reception and Networking: 6:00 PM, Program starts at 6:30 PM
Suffolk Law School Room 335
120 Tremont St., Boston, MA
(Park Street MBTA Station – red or green lines)

Panelists:
-Law Professor Ragini Shah from Suffolk Law School; and
-Ben de Guzman, Co-Director of the National Queer Asian and Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), Washington DC.

To RSVP:
ben_deguzman@nqapia.org (e-mail)
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=155894387798288 (Facebook)

Co-Sponsored by:
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
Massachusetts South Asian Lambda Association (MASALA)
Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (QAPA)
Suffolk Law School
The Network/ La Red

[from NQAPIA] Get your QAPA on!

Did you know that QAPA is the oldest co-gender LGBTQI Asian and Pacific Islander (API) organization in the United States?  I didn’t – until I read it on our website while at the NQAPIA Summit yesterday.  And neither did most of our fellow LGBTQI Asian groups; in fact, most people had never even heard of QAPA.  That QAPA began in 1979 (under the name BAGML, Boston Asian Gay Men and Lesbians and later renamed AMALGM, Alliance of Massachusetts Asian Lesbians and Gay Men) is historic and symbolic.  The gay movement was still young, and the Asian community was largely absent from it.  Today, there are 42 LGBTQI Asian organizations, with NQAPIA (National Queer Asian and Pacific Islander Alliance) as the umbrella foundation.  I think QAPA and the brave men and women who founded it galvanized the LGBTQI API movement even if it wasn’t a political organization, and I want QAPA to continue to inspire us and our allies, whether they be LGBTQI, Asian, straight, LGBTQI and Asian, straight and Asian or non-Asian and straight.  We don’t have to just focus on politics or social justice issues; providing a social and supportive environment for LGBTQI API’s in Boston sends a message that we exist, and it’s okay.

Okay, so I’m still on a high from the energy and inspiration from the past 3 days, but what I’m saying is sincere.  I truly believe in QAPA and I want all of our members and steering committee to believe in it as well.  I feel honored to be a part of this group, the first co-gender LGBTQI Asian organization in the U.S., honored that you, our members, are a part of it as well.  I don’t intend to speak for the entire organization or the steering committee, nor would I want you to view my post as my “soap box” moment; rather, I want this message to serve as a reminder of the significance of QAPA, of what QAPA meant to its leaders and community at its inception so that we continue to sustain and celebrate its relevance and importance.

If there was only one thing I took away from the NQAPIA Summit, it’s that we (the LGBTQI Asian community) are severely underrepresented and underfunded, but we have the power and resources to change that.  If a few gay men and women in 1979 can create change, we in 2010 can as well.  So, let’s get our QAPA on!

[from NQAPIA] The L Word

It’s 2:00 a.m. here in Chicago (it was when I started writing but was too tired to finish!), and although my soft fluffy hotel bed with 6 pillows looks so inviting right now, I want to share a few highlights from the first night of the NQAPIA summit.

After checking in at the Majestic Hotel (fabulous name), some new friends and I walked to Ann Sathers restaurant for the welcome dinner.  I really can’t describe how it felt to be surrounded by so many gay Asian leaders, from Hawaii to Massachusetts.  As we introduced ourselves and spoke briefly about our respective LGBTQI Asian groups, a common concern permeated throughout: how do we sustain support and representation within the LGBTQI Asian community?  It was comforting to hear that other groups share similar challenges, successes, and goals as QAPA; it was certainly inspirational.  I was also really impressed with the diversity of the whole group.  There are Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, African American, transgendered, bisexual, lesbian, boi, radical, femme, gay men and women, and everything in between – certainly one of the most beautiful mosaics I’ve ever seen 🙂  Some represent groups that have been active since 1984, others are in their first year.  But all of us care about and want to protect and develop our respective organizations for the sake of the LGBTQI Asian community.

Despite our varied backgrounds, we all agreed there was no better way to end an amazing first day than to head out to the Bollywood party at Big Chicks bar.  The bar itself was your typical crowded, male-dominated gay bar, but the real party was on the T, or the “L” as the train is called here.  A gang from my hotel and I traveled to the bar together and shared a lot of laughs and intense conversation while riding on the L.  It was a great bonding experience, and an opportunity to talk about something else besides NQAPIA 🙂  We ended the evening with a very serious conversation about monogamy versus polyamory.  My fabulous new friend Tuan is a hopeless romantic, a man after my own heart.  My new Korean friend John is the anti-hopeless romantic, a man whose realism and cynism I appreciate.  My roommate, Di (another Korean, woot!) is convinced they aren’t going to hook up; I am convinced they already have.

NQAPIA Summit

Hi all,

In a few days I will be flying out to Chicago to represent QAPA for the National Queer and Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) Summit.  I’m particularly excited to participate because the focus of the conference is on how local chapters and the national alliance can help each other develop and grow. Some of the topics we’ll discuss are immigration rights, visibility campaigns, and gender issues (but really we’ll be planning how gay Asians can take over the world).  In addition to posting real-time updates, I will send a full recap at the end of the conference and share what I learned from our fellow gay Asian community groups.  I hope you’ll keep it interactive – would love to hear your thoughts and ideas while I’m there.

Here is more information on NQAPIA and the Summit:

Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing minority group in the nation.  More and more are coming out of the closet, yet they still face invisibility, isolation, and stereotyping.  In response, about 35 local LGBT AAPI organizations have formed.

NQAPIA was founded as a federation of LGBT AAPI organizations to help develop the organizational capacity of these groups, promote grassroots organizing and advocacy, and challenge homophobia and racism. Towards this, we are hosting another training and issue briefing for leaders of LGBT AAPI organizations, to be held in Chicago, IL.

So remember, you can stay up-to-date by following us on Twitter (QAPA_online), or by checking our website and Facebook group page.
Stay dry!
-Kathy

Denver National Queer Asian Leadership conference

Denver conference 9/5/2008 – 9/7/2008

I flew into Denver with a whole lot of open mind for the NQAPIA conference. National Queer Asian Leadership conference doesn’t happen that often and I was very happy to represent QAPA (Queer Asian Pacific Alliance the oldest queer Asian organization in USA. Was founded in 1979 and its almost 30 years and we are going strong). The long flight from Boston or getting outted in the airport because I was dragging big carry on that someone makes me gay? I never heard that before but it did really happen :). You guys should ask Anouksha or Deepali who I met at the Airport and we headed to the hotel together.

My buddy Kit Yan from QAPA was there, you all know about him the famous slam poet and part of “Good Asian drivers”. I learnt a lot from Kit in the past few years I knew him, he opened a lot of doors for me and made me understand the plight and fights of the Trans and Trans Asian community. Amit Dixit from Boston MASALA was representing his organization and I alwasy appreciate his energy whether its Queer South Asian related activism or HIV Aids related fights.

This is a pan asian conference including Asians from the Main land, South East Asians, South Asians and the Pacific Islanders. This is another unique thing about the conference. Historically Asians and South Asian communities have their own organizations and there are few points or intersections but they survive and behave like two different communities.

The day we landed we had a reception and we met the local dignitaries. We met Gill Foundation executive director, his staff and local dignitaries. Not only it was an eye opener, it was heartening to see Queer and non queer local community leaders there to support the conference and the cause. Let me ask you this, how often do you hear about the National Asian Queer leadership conference or the Queer Leadership itself. Hats off to Glen, Ben, Mala, Andy and Gill foundation to make this happen. They worked so hard to make this happen and I am so proud of their achievement and leadership. This inspires me to do more for the community and the cause. Its not an empty promise and I am not known for that, If I commit, I am 200% or I am not there.

Members from the following organizations were represented there. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, GLAAD, QAPA, MASALA, Anushka Fernandopulle Consulting, NQAPIA, National Asian/Pacific American Womens’s Forum, Trikone Atlanta, Asian American Queer Women Activists, Asian Pacific Islander Queer Sisters, Gay Asian Pacific Support Network, API Queer United for Action, UC Santa Barbara, SALGA NYC, I2I:Invisible to Invincible, GAPIMNY, Shades of Yello, Providence Youth Student Movement, API Pride of Chicago, Astrea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training, Q-Wave, Queer Philly Asians, Trikone (SF), Satrang, South Bay Queer & Asian, API Equality-LA, AQUA, KHUSHDC, API EQUALITY, Audre Lorde Project, Dari Project, AL-Fatiha Foundation, Trikone-Norhtwest.

Day 2 was full of workshops, discussions and was a hectic day, followed by a nice dinner offsite. Some of the participants went for a club night and I was so tired and I didn’t feel like burning my midnight oil that weekend. The Austin trip few days later was in my mind and I didn’t want to exhaust myself and also I am feeling like a old man at 35. What the heck?

Day 3 was a half a day one and it everyone went back to their homes. It was hard to say goodbye, but its the fact and reality.

40 plus Asian queer leaders from different organizations and different walks of life were there. It was a unexplainable feeling of a big family and comfort that we are not alone in this fight. I looked around the room we had East Asians, South Asians, Pacific Islanders, South East Asians in the room. We were all connected by one mission and one cause. How often does this happen? its not that often and its the reality. Most of the representation was from East and West coasts, one from Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri each. This showed that we need to get those people energized and organized in those underrepresented states. Yes there are Queer Asians in those states but we have to find a way to help them get organized and be visible.

I don’t question the existence of “Long Yang” theme clubs across the nation, but I don’t think these clubs are serving the Queer Asian movement. These group in general reinforces the concept of Older White men and the younger Asian men. This is a stereotype as a Asian gay man, me and many of my peers are asked or forced to fit in. But many are resilient and wont settle for such arrangements and its wont work. Personally I don’t like to be exotified and looked upon as a exotic piece of meat vs a good productive human being who is civic minded and works for the community. I have a lot to offer and unless I get a chance I wont be able to show that side of me. As a minority we are expected to be a stereotype played by media and the community or exotified by the majority community. This is counter productive and doesn’t help us to assimilate it to the majority and treated as equals. Whether you have lived here all your life or you were adopted and raised by a parents from different race or you just got off the plane doesn’t matter, we are still Asians and we have to embrace that aspect of it and make changes that is necessary within the community.

There are many of the Asian queer organizations in this nation. We do a great job locally and take care of the local needs as much as possible. As local community organizations mostly we are volunteer based organizations. We pick our fight on various grounds and its very difficult path I say. We have limited resources at our disposal and very limited manpower to go with that. We always think about the local needs and we seldom work with other organizations within our local confines or nationally. Even if we say we do work with other organizations, its unstructured and very minimal. We reinvent the wheel so many times and its mind boggling. We all work as separate islands and we ought to get united, get organized and interface with the other groups and make the movement stronger and share our triumphs and failures.

This is a rare opportunity for us to get united nationally and do things from a national view point. Who we are locally shouldn’t influence working nationally. I think someone from Boston, NYC, SF, Chicago, Austin, Kansas are equally effective in this fight. We may have history behind us, but we have to think that we are one community and work towards achieving the feeling of a one big family and do what we are supposed to do. There is a lot to be accomplished nationally and we have a huge advantage of helping the GLBT community back in our home countries. They need us and if we can build a stronger foundation we can weather storms like Ike, Katrina and ones that may come tomorrow or the day after.

We can withstand the onslaught of White privilege, racial inequality, gender bias, right wing and many more that comes our way. If we stay united we can take the bull by its horn, otherwise we end up facing the Bull shit. I will let you choose what you like the Bull or the Bull shit?