APCOM  (Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health) a coalition of members – Governments, UN partners, non-profits and community based organizations – from Asia and the Pacific. APCOM represents a diverse range of interests working together to advocate on, highlight and prioritize HIV issues that affect the lives of men who have sex with men (MSM)* and transgender people, including rights, health and well-being.  APCOM commissioned Mr. Gay World 2017 John Raspado to be one of the ambassadors in celebration of its 10th year anniversary.

The summit provided an invaluable opportunity for members and influencers of the Asia Pacific response to HIV, community health and rights to work together to map out new approaches to addressing these issues across the region, especially in relation to gay men, other men who have sex with men, and transgender people.

The event was very successful, attracting over 300 participants from across Asia and the Pacific as well as many special international guests and speakers. Over 40 sessions and activities were included in the agenda and we received excellent feedback from delegates about the content across all five days of the event.

Along with the other ambassadors for the said event are:

APCOM ED Midnight Poonkasetwattana and APCOM Board Chair Dede Oetomo (centre) with APCOM Ambassadors The Hon Michael Kirby (jurist, academic, former Australian High Court Justice and former UN Human Rights Council Commissioner), Prasada Rao (UN Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS for the Asia Pacific region and former Indian Health Secretary), Ratu Epeli Nailatikau (UNAIDS Regional Goodwill Ambassador for the Pacific and former President of Fiji), John Raspado (Mr. Gay World 2017)

A week-long activity where he was ask to be a guest for the following events:

  • The Hero Awards – (November 12, 2017) Standing for HIV, Equality and Rights, the Hero Awards acknowledges outstanding services to the HIV response in Asia and the Pacific, and to the region’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities.
  • RRRAP Summit Think Tank – (November 12, 2017) an invitation from Francisco Vaz Patto (Portuguese Ambassador to Thailand) at The Ambassador’s Residence Embassy of Portugal – a precursor to the summit aimed to provide a forum from key representatives to help shape APCOM’s Strategic Planning for 2018-22.
  • Meet and Greet – (November 14, 2017) an invitation to a Reception in honor of The Hon. Michael Kirby, AC CMG, APCOM’s LGBT Human Rights Ambassador at Ambassador’s Residence Australian Embassy Bangkok.
  • RRRAP Summit Closing Reception – (November 15, 2017) an invitation from His Excellency Brian Davidson (British Ambassador to Thailand) that provides a valuable opportunity to network with many of the leading community representatives of Asia and the Pacific response to HIV and LGBT health and rights.

“The support provided by you as APCOM Ambassadors was instrumental in helping position the RRRAP Summit as a landmark event for APCOM and the communities we serve. Your knowledge, insights and wisdom were greatly appreciated by the delegates, as was your warm and friendly engagement. For making such an important contribution, please accept our wholehearted gratitude and appreciation.” – APCOM

As an ambassador, I was also privileged to talk about some issues :

“The Uncivil Society: Of Privilege, Exclusion And The Work Of Social Justice For All.”

The Standards of Beauty – This session attempts to reflect on taboo issues that affect our community, exploring racism (“colorism”), HIV+ stigma, sexism and body image that sometimes excludes, in a bid perhaps to re-imagine a better world, and to work consciously towards a social justice for all. Also tackles its impact on social media, dating and dating apps.

“SIDE HUSTLING: Can Social and sexual Currency help fund CBO?”

The differences of Social and Sexual Currency – The uses of social and sexual currency on how it can help fund CBO’s.  It’s effects and how to use the power of social media to boosts its parameters.

  1. GAY WORLD 2017 ATTENDS KAOSHIUNG PRIDE

November  25, 2017

I was astonished how Koashiung came together to celebrate the event. The parade was graced by young and old LGBT people. Although, it was not grandeur as a “mardi gras” (compared to other western countries)  as people maybe a little bit conservative but to my surprise some came out with their colorful and unique costumes.

It is very inspiring how the youth participates in Kaoshiung Pride March, i see a very healthy, participative and pro-active LGBT Community in the near future.

The people of Koashiung are very friendly and hospitable as as I may say – they are very supportive of the LGBT people and the buildings are also adorned with color and flags to show their support. Indeed, it was a well-organized parade compared to other events whom we see some opposers that try to destroy the parade/ event.

Although, there might be barriers in language if you are a foreigner, the language of Love filled the air as people great each other with warm smiles and of course free hugs.

Another heart-warming experience was at the Brickyard Club, I was inspired how this club supports the LGBT. Not only that it supports the LGBT Community but it also shows its support to LGBT artist playing local music that conveys LGBT messages. And the crowd really goes wild when their music is played. A thing that I didn’t found in the gay clubs in my country maybe perhaps not too many LGBT artists in the Philippines have delved into this Dance genre for we only have love songs and ballads.