The COVID-19 pandemic has starkly revealed the vast social, economic and health disparities experienced by trans and gender-diverse communities. We knew that the pandemic would have wide-ranging impacts on the lives of people in the trans and gender-diverse communities across Asia and the Pacific region. As a result of the pandemic, there is increased surveillance and criminalisation of trans and gender-diverse communities on top of the loss of income and worsening access to basic rights such as health, shelter, etc.
Our inability to physically gather due to travel restrictions meant that APTN has not been able to organise the annual regional convening for the past two years. This year, we are back with the physical convenings and other activities to better understand the challenges facing trans communities; the advocacy and interventions needed to aid the recovery and build the capacity of Trans Human Rights Defenders and the movement.
In the changing landscape of a world living in the shadow of the pandemic, it is imperative that we strengthen capacity and create leadership for robust, self-led, autonomous and intersectional trans movements at the community, national and regional levels. We propose to host four sub-regional convenings over 2022-23 in each of the four subregions that APTN works in.
Southeast Asia Sub Regional Convening
The first sub-regional convening hosted in Bangkok between 19-23 September will see a gathering of trans human rights defenders, healthcare outreach workers and community-based organisations from across Southeast Asia. The convening aims to assess the state of the trans movement, programmes and initiatives in-country, and advocacy particularly in areas such as access to health, legal gender recognition, combating hate crimes and conversion therapy practices.
Over the course of five days APTN, with the help of partners, will map out the threats and advocacy opportunities for the trans movement in the subregion, network with communities from other countries, and map out trans-specific programmes and initiatives, including HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care programmes and best practices. At the same time, the Southeast Asia convening will inform APTN of the specific capacity needs, threats and advocacy opportunities identified by the communities.
The convening will be followed by the subregional convenings in South Asia, the Pacific and East Asia. These convenings will also inform the Regional Capacity Building Workshop for Trans Human Rights Defenders in 2023.