ASEAN Queer Imaginings: Collection of Writings by LGBTIQ Thinkers
Two months into 2021, LGBTIQ persons from Southeast Asia have already faced multiple forms of discrimination in the hands of their governments. Malaysia’s Deputy Minister in the Religious Affairs Department made a statement that the punishment for LGBTIQ people under the current law is ‘too light’ and went so far to suggest heavier sentences be applied to the offenses. Democracy is being trampled in Myanmar and LGBTIQ people are among those who march down the street to protest against the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic. Harmless protest over alleged transphobia outside the Singapore Ministry of Education headquarter was met with an arrest over public assembly without permit.
With our spaces to exercise activism dwindling away amidst the pandemic, it is the right time to creatively pour out our voices using the existing media and echo the sentiment of pro democracy and pro human rights in multiple ways we can. The focus on art for the SEAQCF 2021: Be/Longings is one way; and we have another to add to the array of media whose purpose is to influence human rights values within our community and beyond.
ASEAN SOGIE Caucus presents ASEAN Queer Imaginings, a publication by LGBTIQ activists in Southeast Asia. The book provides a space for activists to exercise thought leadership, by sharing a wealth of experiences and lessons learned in advancing LGBTIQ rights in the region. The collection of essays delves into the struggle to make the region a home where we belong. We reached out to activists who had made a push in advocating for policy change in which queer lives are respected; those who took a subtle trajectory through art and cultural initiatives, revealing a narrative that recognized queer traces in history. There are also our friends who foster a hotbed for creative leadership among LGBTIQ Southeast Asians.
We thank our writer friends who contributed their ideas and ideals in this book: An, Mikee Inton-Campbell, Chutchaya ‘Bloom’ Siriwattakon, Vica Larasati, Joel Mark Baysa-Barredo, Meth Monthary, Ninar Thanita Wongprasert, Nurdiyansah Dalidjo, and Ng Yi-Sheng. They have done great work to make this publication possible.
This book can be read by everyone, especially fellow LGBTIQ persons and allies who need inspiration, insights and reflections to further strengthen their activism. We hope that this book spark activists, young and old, to continue painting their ideas on the canvas of queer activism in Southeast Asia.
ASEAN Queer Imaginings can be downloaded and read here.