Archive for category AAPI LGBTQ

Creating Hmong LGBTQ Space Everywhere by Alice Y. Hom

“Creating Hmong LGBTQ Space Everywhere” By Alice Y. Hom

Shades of Yellow (SOY), a Hmong lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer organization located in the Twin Cities, Minnesota has been creating safer spaces and a community for Hmong LGBTQ people to meet others to share and learn more about integrating their ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in affirming and supportive ways. They also have developed ally relationships to build understanding and acceptance for Hmong LGBTQ members within their Hmong and LGBTQ communities of which they are a part.

As the Director of AAPIP’s Queer Justice Fund, I met with SOY staff, board, and a few members on February 7th to lead a facilitated discussion about the history of LGBTQ AAPI community organizing, my own development as a Queer AAPI activist, and their thoughts about the future direction for SOY as they contemplate new leadership and strategies to build the organization and their members.

A former board member, Fue Khang shared, “This conversation was definitely something we needed. We have not yet had an individual come in to work one-on-one with our Board and/or Staff, so this meeting re-energized me. For a while I was feeling the affects of burnout and a bit hopeless, but having this meeting to talk over our concerns and visions gave me a new perspective for SOY.”

A group of 11 met over a tasty dinner at a Cambodian restaurant where we made a Queer AAPI space in a semi-private back room where we spoke freely, laughed loudly, and at times, turned serious on topics such as coming out, family and community acceptance, discrimination, social change, and how best for SOY to play a role in changing social and community conditions by addressing racism, homophobia, and sexism in ways that make sense culturally from the different perspectives of SOY members and leaders. “[This] meeting helped reinforce my thoughts and helped me redefined what social change is and can be,” said Doua Xiong.

People shared their challenges of being Hmong and queer, how they navigate the sometimes different worlds of their LGBTQ community and their Hmong community, and how they encounter a variety of reactions when coming out to friends and family members. Huey Lee remarked, “I had the best and most productive night ever with SOY and Alice Hom. I never thought just talking with people [would] be this great and that I would learn so much. I really enjoyed talking about the concept of space and that as Hmong Queer, we have the opportunity to create Queer space where ever we go!”

The final topic of the evening centered on SOY’s current leadership transition and the short-term and future direction of the organization. Everyone chimed in with their different perspectives and opinions based on their connection, history, and roles with SOY. The next steps include creating more opportunities to have larger gatherings to continue the dialogue and to bring interested people together who want to do the work of maintaining and sustaining SOY because it is a valuable resource for the Hmong LGBTQ community and to ally communities.

Chong Moua, a SOY staff member, summed it up, “It was good to know that SOY is not the only organization that goes through challenges, change, and transitions. Discussing our specific concerns and having the opportunity to share our ideas and thoughts connected everyone, board, staff, and constituents, on a deeper level. Having this understanding regrounded everyone back to the same starting point. I am reassured, hopeful, and excited for all the opportunities ahead!”


Please come and support one of SOY’s signature events, SOY New Year celebration, this Saturday, February 26th.

Buasavanh Banquet Hall
7324 Lakeland Ave N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55428.
Doors Open at 3 pm
Open-Mic and After Party at 9 pm
For more information, please see

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“Fireworks Over Queer Groups’ Participation in Lunar New Year Parade” via Race Wire, Color Lines

Sharing an article from Race Wire about recent events that unfolded around the Lunar New Year Parade in the Vietnamese-American community of Westminster, CA.

Also, a link to a Vietnamese LGBT group for further information and on going updates.

Racewire Blog

Fireworks Over Queer Groups’ Participation in Lunar New Year Parade  by Julianne Hing


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The 22nd National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change Feb 3–7

FYI, an upcoming LGBT equality conference.   The info below is from the Creating Change website:

Think Big and Live Large at Creating Change in Dallas, Texas! –The 22nd National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change

The 22nd National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change will be held at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel in beautiful downtown Dallas, Texas, Feb. 3 – 7, 2010. Produced by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Creating Change Conference (as it is affectionately known) is the nation’s pre-eminent political, leadership and skills-building conference for the LGBT social justice movement. Since 1988, Creating Change has been the opportunity for thousands of committed people to develop and hone their skills, celebrate victories, build community, and to be inspired by visionaries of our LGBT movement and allied movements for justice and equality.

The primary goal of the Creating Change Conference is to build our movement’s political power from the ground up to secure our overarching goal of full equality, social justice and dignity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the United States.

Please join us!
Upwards of 2000 people attend the Creating Change Conference from all over the United States, with a few attendees from other countries. Attendees include:

  • people just like you who are creating change every day
  • young and old activists
  • organizers and activists of color
  • paid and unpaid staff people at LGBT political or community organizations
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocates and straight allies
  • elected and appointed officials
  • leaders of campus communities and local community centers.

Creating Change is an annual gathering of organizers and activists working to create a world in which our sexual orientations and gender expressions will be welcomed and celebrated. Please join us in Dallas, Feb. 3 – 7, 2010!

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Freedom Inc ~ Kabzuag Vaj

NGEC just wrapped up our final 2009 peer learning call with the  OFP cohort and our  special guest speaker, Kabzuag Vaj of Freedom Incorporated.  The OFP participants asked great questions and heard engaging examples of Freedom Inc’s work around what cultural change means  for them and what kinds of decisions and strategies have shaped who they are as a social justice organization.

About Freedom Inc
:  Freedom, Inc.’s mission is to inspire and educate individuals through leadership development and community organizing that will bring about social, political, cultural, and economic change to low-income communities.  Their projects include advocacy & services for victims of domestic violence, as well as weekly youth groups where girls and boys learn about & discuss leadership, healthy relationships, academic & community issues, and anti-oppression principles & tactics.

Freedom Inc was founded in 2000 by a group of young Southeast Asian girls in Wisconsin who came together to talk about community issues. As stories were shared, they realized that many forms of oppression were taking place within and amongst their community, which consists of low-income Hmong and other Southeast Asians.  They reflected on the violence within many of their own families, & realized that those incidences related to larger systemic issues of poverty, racial profiling, immigration, & other forms of violence that continually impact their community.

Freedom Inc:
image from

Kabzuag Vaj is a long-time advocate for Hmong women, girls, and families.  She is a co-founder and current Executive Director of Freedom Inc. As part of her position, she also works on program development and advocacy for families experiencing domestic violence. Formerly, she worked at the Hmong American Women Association. More recently, she has been part of a team of Hmong women activist/advocates working to address root causes of abusive international marriages. Kabzuag has participated in several groups including INCITE! Radical Women of Color Working to End Violence, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Advisory Board of Creative Intervention-San Francisco and the Madison Equal Opportunity Commission. She earned a B.A. in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Kabzuag has studied and lived in Thailand. A Hmong refugee, she and her family have been active community members in Madison for more than 25 years.

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Nov 5th in San Jose ~ “Finding the Words Translating API/LGBT Issues Into Action”

FREE (donations are welcome!)

November 5, 2009 | Registration Begins 6:30 PM | Event 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
United Way Bldg., Rm. 105
1922 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126

” LGBT issues are API issues. Find out how immigration and marriage equality affect our communities and how conversations about these issues are lost in translation.

Panel includes representatives from API Equality, Out4Immigration and Song That Radio.  For more information or to RSVP, go to”

South Bay First Thursdays is a monthly dinner series for people in the non-profit, for-profit, and government sectors interested in Asian American & Pacific Islander (AA&PI) community issues and service opportunities. Our mission is to foster a sense of community and understanding through educational events, focusing on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

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