A diverse and inspirational mix of 27 people and organisations from across Asia and the Pacific have been selected as finalists for this year’s HERO Awards, with a gala fundraising event taking place at Bangkok’s Dutch Ambassador’s Residence on Friday 22 November.
Standing for HIV, Equality and Rights, the HERO Awards is an annual event which acknowledges outstanding service to the HIV response in Asia and the Pacific, and to the region’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities.
Taking place at the Ambassador’s residence at the Netherlands Embassy in central Bangkok, the event is also a fundraiser for the Bangkok-based APCOM Foundation, a leading NGO working to fight HIV and advance LGBTI health and rights across the Asia Pacific region. The Awards are being supported by a range of corporate sponsors, community organisations and diplomatic missions.
The 27 finalists have been selected from over 220 nominations across nine (9) categories submitted by community members throughout the region, with judging panels selecting three (3) finalists and one (1) winner for each category. This year’s new category is “Business Ally” to give a special spotlight to the private sector that champion HIV, and/or LGBTI rights. The recipients of each of the nine awards will be presented with their prize at the gala ceremony and cocktail party on Friday 22 November at the Netherlands Embassy.
APCOM Executive Director Midnight Poonkasetwattana: “The judges were impressed by the calibre and variety of nominations from right across the region. They noted that selecting the finalists was a difficult process because the achievements and contributions of all the nominees were remarkable in their own way. However, the judges agreed that the finalists they selected exhibited a truly outstanding commitment to advancing the health and rights of LGBTI people and people affected by HIV, and they deserved to be recognised for their efforts”, “Everyday heroes from right across the Asia Pacific region are doing extraordinary work in their local communities to help improve the lives of others. We are excited that The HERO Awards provides a wonderful opportunity in the lead-up to World AIDS Day, and International Human Rights Day to shine a light on some of these community champions as well as the issues to which they’re responding. Also, this fundraising gala is essential for APCOM’s sustainability. We are also very grateful for the kind support from the Embassy of the Netherlands”.
The Netherlands Ambassador Kees Rade said “The Netherlands has been very active in terms of supporting community organisations and networks, and it is such a pleasure to note that the Netherlands played a significant part in helping set up APCOM over a decade ago. And on this occasion, the HERO Awards fit into the priorities of the Dutch policy to protect and to advocate equal rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT). We want to bring visibility to the issues in our region, and through APCOM’s HERO Awards we hope to build bridges for more support to this cause.”
Up to 400 guests will gather in the grand and historic Ambassador’s residence at the Netherlands Embassy for an inspirational awards ceremony and fabulously fun cocktail reception with delicious canapés accompanied by champagne, fine wines and premium beer. There’ll be great live entertainment from singers, musicians and performers as well as an exciting fundraising auction with art and dining up for grabs at bargain prices.
If you're in Bangkok and would like to attend this event and support APCOM's important work, details are below:
HERO AWARDS CEREMONY & COCKTAIL PARTY
Friday 22 November 2019, 6:30pm – 11pm
Ambassador’s Residence, Netherlands Embassy,
THB2500/person (all inclusive)
To buy tickets, click here!
HERO Awards Finalists 2019
• ANZ - ANZ strives to build a culture of respect for all people and communities including LGBTIQ+ staff, customers and communities. Establishing an inclusive network for LGBTQI+ staff in 2007, ANZ remains a partner of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras as well as a member of the "Welcome Here" campaign.
• IBM - IBM is a passionate supporter of LGBTI inclusion in the workplace, including recognizing domestic partnerships and LGBT employees in their company publications from the early 1990s.
• Societe Générale - Societe Générale Asia Pacific (Hong Kong) promotes an inclusive workplace for gender diverse staff and is a robust supporter of equality and non-discrimination. They have been championing marriage equality and equal rights for same-sex couples in the organization.
• Jonggeol Lee - Jong Geol Lee is the general director of Chingusai - the Korean gay men's human rights organization that Jong-geul has been the Executive Director of. He is a proven leader in the LGBT community of South Korean for the last decade. Recently he was the co-chairperson of Rainbow Action - the coalition of Korean LGBT organizations - to realize equality for gay men in Korea.
• Pink Dot Singapore - Pink Dot Singapore celebrated its 11th birthday this past June and it continues to strengthen and grow in its aim to bring equity for LGBTIQ persons in Singapore. Its impact has been greater than the island state of Singapore with Pink Dots now held in many other cities across the globe. Pinl Dot has maintained a focus on social change bringing together a wide cross section of the community to realize results.
• Raymond Phang - Raymond has been involved with Shanghai Pride for over 10 years , working to build awareness of LGBTIQ issues in China. The event has grown into one of the largest Pride events in Asia, supported by a wide cross-section of organizations and individuals.
• Dennis Philipse - Dennis founded "Out in HK" five years ago which has organized over 500 events in that time and can boast almost 6,000 members. He initiated Hong Kong's successful bid for the 2022 Gay Games.
• Manisha Dakal – Manisha is trans activist and Executive Director of Blue Diamond Society, one of Nepal’s largest nongovernmental organizations, she recently served as Co-chair of ILGA Asia.
• Moon Ali - Moon has worked for many years on programs in Pakistan that benefit transgender people. She is passionate about the improving the level of awareness about health for transgender people as well as enhancing their empowerment within the context of Pakistan.
• Humraz Male Health Society - The Humraz Male Health Society was founded in 2012 becoming the first community-led organization in Pakistan working to improve the sexual health, welfare and human rights of men who have sex with men.
• Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan - Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan was established only in November 2016 as a platform to advocate for marriage equality. The five organizations that form the coalition are: Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association, Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy, Awakening Foundation, The Lobby Alliance for LGBT Human Rights, and Gagaoolala. Taiwan legalised same-sex marriage in June this year becoming the first country in Asia to do so.
• Youth for Health - Youth for Health Center provides multiple services to men who have sex with men in Mongolia including information, education, outreach and advocacy. Formed in 2003, Youth for Health Center provides telephone counselling services and HIV testing referral services.
Health & Wellbeing Hero
• June Chua - June is one of Singapore's leading advocates for transgender inclusive services. She has worked tirelessly for more than a decade to bring housing, basic information, health services and support to the Transgender community of Singapore.
• Le Thanh - Thanh is a sociologist based in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. As the Director of G-Link he is a strong advocate of PrEP, STI screening and HIV treatment as effective HIV prevention technologies. Glink was founded 10 years ago and aims to be a sustainable organization that supports, inspires and influences the LGBT community.
• Mathew Amituanai - Mathew is a trained physiotherapist from Samoa who has divided his time between social justice issues and sports medicine - caring for professional rugby players to advocating for LGBTI issues.
• Acep Saepudin - Acep is a young gay Muslim Indonesian man living with HIV. He has documented his journey of living with HIV since his diagnosis in September last year, using this platform to raise awareness, debunk myths and part of a very personal face on the HIV epidemic in Indonesia.
• Natisara Rai - Natisara is a long-term Nepalese survivor of HIV infection. Diagnosed more than 20 years ago, she has devoted her life to helping others, working with an organization called Shakti Milan Samaj.
• Samad Ali - Sarmad is from Pakistan and works with marginalized and stigmatized populations to improve their standard of living. He has been a youth activist and has maintained his work in the face of physical threats.
Social Justice Hero
• Makiko Terahara - Makiko is a leader in the movement to bring equal rights to same-sex couples in Japan. She is a leader of Marriage for All Japan that advocates for marriage choice - those who wish to marry can and those who wish to remain unmarried cannot be forced to marry. She is leading the efforts of Marriage for All Japan to change the interpretation of the current marriage law in Japan.
• Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju - Menaka and Arundhati were named as Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People list of 2019. After more than a 100 year when same-sex relations were ruled as unnatural, the Supreme Court of India ruled in September 2018 that Section 377 of the Indian Constitution was unconstitutional. They were key women in the successful petitioning of the Indian Supreme Court to achieve this ruling.
• Serey Chan - Serey is a human rights advocate and defender who has worked tirelessly over the last two decades for the rights of vulnerable populations including LGBTI communities in Cambodia. She works across the wider community to reduce stigma and discrimination against LGBTI people.
• Amrita Sarkar - Armita, from India, is a founding member of the Global Network of Trans Women and HIV. She has worked extensively throughout India on trnasgender programs including the making of films of transgender issues.
• Rena Janamnuaysook - Rena is the face of the Tangerine Clinic in Bangkok, working tirelessly to improve the health and well-being of transgender people.
• Sulastri Ariffin - Sulastri is a long-term transgender activist from Malaysia. Her work includes the establishment of SEED Foundation and working with PT Foundation. She is presently working on the Justice-for-Sisters campaign to raise awareness about violence and persecution against the Mak Nyah community.
• Doan Thanh Tung - Tung is the Executive Director of Lighthouse Social Enterprise and Chair of Youth Voices Count. A young HIV and LGBTQ activist he has been recognized for his work to establish LGBTQ-friendly health care services, both in Vietnam and internationally.
• Jofiliti Veikoso - Jofiliti is a young Fijian social worker. He is presently working on development programs for children and volunteers with organizations working on LGBTIQ+ issues.
• Rhadem Camlian Morado - Rhadem is a filmmaker and a queer Moro activist focusing on peace and human rights issues in the southern regions of the Philippines. He's been actively producing digital awareness campaigns, documentary films and involved in organizing human rights events for LGBT communities.