- August 20, 2015
Post submitted by Hyacinth Alvaran, HRC Senior Diversity Program Manager.
Earlier this month, I attended the National Queer & Asian Pacific Islander Alliance’s (NQAPIA) National Conference in Chicago, Illinois.
This year's theme was "Thriving Together" and brought together over 300 LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islander (API) leaders from across the country. It included four days of workshops around leadership development, identity building and community organizing. Additionally, Associate Director of Online Mobilization & Social Media James Servino, who is also a board member of AQUA-DC, and OCA Policy & Communications Manager Kham Moua, led a workshop on online mobilization.
The conference also included a social media action in support of #BlackLivesMatter and a banquet to honor leading advocates in LGBTQ and API communities. This year, NQAPIA honored PFLAG parents and advocates Marsha and Tad Auzumi, Liz Thomson and I Li Hsiao of i2i Chicago and Wisconsin-based Freedom Inc.Maulik Pancholy, from NBC's "30 Rock", and slam poet Kit Yan, emceed the banquet.
As an LGBTQ Asian Pacific Islander working in the civil rights movement, it's always both personally meaningful and professionally rewarding to attend the NQAPIA Conference.
While API communities are very diverse in our respective histories, we are also bound together by our immigrant stories and identities. Added to that layer of complexity are the challenges LGBTQ Asian Pacific Islanders face navigating racism, poverty, language barriers, homophobia, transphobia and family pressures as first or second-generation immigrants.
At the NQAPIA Conference, I am able to be in a space that affirms all of my identities and connect with people who can relate to my experiences as a first-generation LGBTQ API immigrant. Together, we can expand our understanding and power in our communities.
For example, coming out can present a unique set of challenges in Asian Pacific Islander communities. To support this process, NQAPIA and the Asian Pride Project launched a national multilingual campaign in June featuring Asian parents voicing unconditional love and support for their LGBTQ children. These videos were broadcast as Public Service Announcements on Asian ethnic television stations, reaching an estimated 13.9 million viewers across the country.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is a proud sponsor of the conference and congratulates NQAPIA as a leading voice for LGBTQ Asian Pacific Islanders everywhere. To learn more, visit www.nqapia.org.