The ILGA Asia board announced on December 14 at the ILGA World Conference in Stockholm that an Asian regional conference would be held in Bangkok, Thailand from 29-31 March, 2013.
The board, which was elected at the third ILGA Asia conference held in Chiangmai, Thailand in 2008, has been inactive since the disaster of the subsequent conference in Surabaya in 2010. The conference had to be cancelled in the face of threats from Islamic fundamentalists. Four board members have resigned: Eva Lee (Common Language, China), Hasna Hena (Bangladesh), Kamilia (Institut Pelangi Perempuan, Indonesia) and Anna Kirey (Labrys, Kyrgyzstan).
The remaining are Poedjiati Tan (Gaya Nusantara, Indonesia), Sahran Abeysundara (Equal Ground, Sri Lanka), Ashley Wu (Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association), Toen-King Oey (Arus Pelangi, Indonesia) Sukhragchaa (MSM Mongolia) and Frank Zhao (Trans China). Of the six, three are now living in the West.
There were probably no board meetings between Surabaya and Stockholm. Ashley Wu emphasised at Stockholm how little had been done by the board, though others sought to present an image of some activity. The Bangkok proposal was put together during the Stockholm conference, not earlier.
The short time frame, it was said, was necessary because of time-limits on funding commitments. With only two Thai representatives at the Stockholm conference, the decision was clearly pushed from outside the country (though emails got some consents from back home). But we can be optimistic. Poor advance planning had not prevented the Chiang Mai ILGA Asia regional conference from being first-rate.
Maybe a new ILGA Asia leadership will emerge at Bangkok. Whether the conference delivers a "Yes or No" on a rebirth of ILGA Asia, Bangkok is still a marvellous queer place to visit.
Yes or No is the name of a very popular Thai lesbian movie. Maybe it should also be the theme of the March conference: "ILGA Asia: Yes or No?"
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