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Newly-elected ILGA Asia Board members
The 5th ILGA Asia Conference 2013: The Phoenix Rising

in THAILAND, 08/04/2013

Bangkok has always been a gay-friendly city, but last weekend it was a little more homo-fabulous than usual. This was because the City of Angels was playing host to Asia’s biggest ever international conference of LGBT activists: the 5th ILGA Asia Conference.

The event opened with a traditional Thai dance performed by a troupe of young men and kathoeys, fused with a lip-synced rendition of the “Amazing Thailand” tourism theme song. All attendees were assured of safety and support for LGBTs by a government official, Dr Taejing Siripanich, Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand.

This was followed by three bewildering days of workshops on gay marriage movements, transphobia and United Nations human rights mechanisms, punctuated with unofficial excursions to Silom and Chatuchak Weekend Market. Finally, on Easter Sunday, a new ILGA Asia Board was voted in – the first new regional board since the 3rd Conference in Chiang Mai, 2008.

Taking the reins are Dandan Zhang (Chinese Lala Alliance, China) and Otgonbaatar Tsedendemberel (LGBT Centre, Mongolia) representing East Asia; King Oey (Arus Pelangi, Indonesia) and Poedjiati Tan (Gaya Nusantara, Indonesia), Southeast Asia; Stefan Joachim (Equal Ground, Sri Lanka) and Yogita Singh (Sangini, India), South Asia; and a representative from West Asia who wishes to remain anonymous for safety reasons. Additionally, Kaona Saowakun (Thailand) will be serving as the non-female representative.

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