[Photo by Rainbow Rights Project]
Sayoni is participating in the ASEAN Civil Society Conference, or ASEAN People’s Forum, again this year – this time in Yangon, Myanmar. It’s a huge civil society gathering, larger than before, with some putting the numbers at 1800 activists from all over ASEAN.
In the words of ACSC/APF,
Every year before the ASEAN Summit, a conference known as the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum (ACSC/APF) is held independently, paralleled to the official ASEAN Summit. Myanmar’s bid for the rotating ASEAN chair was granted, so it is responsible as well to host the ASEAN People’s Forum where hundreds of civil society actors from the ASEAN region will gather to represent voices of civil societies.
This year’s theme is “Advancing ASEAN Peoples’ Solidarity towards Sustainable Peace, Development, Justice and Democratization and address issues around Peace; Justice and Human Rights; Development and Democratization; and ASEAN.”
Amid all these voices, the ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, a group of activists in ASEAN, seeks to give sexual orientation, gender identity and expression a place in the conversation.
This task is often a challenging one.
Throughout the plenary sessions, the question of if and when the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration will include provisions protecting the rights of LGBTIQ people remained unanswered.
[...] During a discussion on minority women’s groups, the issue of including LBTQ women’s issues under this umbrella was raised. The panel responded with consensus that LGBTIQ issues are too contentious for the women’s movement to support on the ASEAN platform and should be pursued and raised by the individual groups.
But it is extremely important that we represent SOGIE/LGBT issues at the conference. Here are some highlights from Day 1.