Grieving For Our Loss and Celebrating the Legacy of Alain Dang

Caption: Alain and other members of the NQAPIA family at the 2011 Community Catalyst Awards (from L-R: Glenn Magpantay, Alain Dang, Ben de Guzman, Sarath Suong, Kohei Ishihara, Sin Yen Ling, Chris Punongbayan)


The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) family suffered a tragic loss on Tuesday, February 5, when Alain Dang passed away. Alain’s leadership and nationally respected network was instrumental in the early conversations that helped bring together the LGBT Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations from around the country for our initial convening in 2005. Indeed, he was part of NQAPIA before there was an NQAPIA.

As an undergraduate at UC Irvine and during his graduate studies at UCLA, Alain cut his political teeth doing organizing as part of the United States Student Association. Moving to New York, he became involved in the queer AAPI scene and joined the Steering Committee of Gay Asian Pacific Islander Men of New York. With GAPIMNY, he joined leaders from AAPI LGBT organizations around the country for a convening at the 2005 Creating Change conference that formed what would become NQAPIA. He joined our first duly constituted Board and served until 2011. He continued to be involved in the community through his leadership in Asian Pacific Islander Equality- Northern California and in local politics when he moved back to Cupertino, CA.

Alain’s commitment to social justice was long-standing, but his legacy to the AAPI LGBT community and our movement is indelible. As part of NQAPIA’s initial Board, he will remain a part of our “origin story” and the work we do bears his thumb print. His other lasting legacy to the community is his body of work during his time at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Along with current NQAPIA Co-Chair Mandy Hu, the two co-authored an initial study of AAPI LGBT people and their experiences with discrimination. With Vaid Fellow Cabrini Vianney, he went on to publish a larger study, which remains one of, if not the benchmark analysis of the AAPI LGBT community and its strengths and challenges. “Living in the Margins: A National Survey of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Asian and Pacific Islander Americans” surveyed almost 900 respondents and was cutting edge in its commitment to capturing the diversity of the community by its distribution in Chinese, Hindi, Korean, and Vietnamese, as well as in English. NQAPIA supported the study by partnering with the Task Force in mobilizing our membership to build the base of respondents. Multilingual regional fact sheets and an executive summary accompanied the report, which put hard numbers to the priorities of the AAPI LGBT community and documented pervasive rates of discrimination and harassment. To this day, the study continues to be the baseline on which our understanding of the community and the work we do in service and advocacy, is based.

NQAPIA’s leadership issued the following statement:

“Alain is remembered as an example of what an activist should be: smart in his analysis, fierce in his convictions, gentle in spirit, and fun and sassy while dancing in the movement. He will be forever a part of NQAPIA’s DNA through his work and his service. The AAPI LGBT community will continue to benefit from his life and work, and we are all the better for knowing him. We send our love and condolences to his family, and recommit ourselves to the values we shared and worked for together with him.”

– Joy Messinger, NQAPIA Board Co-Chair, Mandy Hu, NQAPIA Board Co-Chair, Glenn Magpantay, NQAPIA Co-Director for Development and Ben de Guzman, NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs




Caption: (from L-R) Alain Dang, Ben de Guzman, and Doreena Wong at the 2007 Launch of “Living in the Margins”


Caption: Alain Dang at the 2008 NQAPIA Leadership Training and Issue Briefing


NQAPIA at Creating Change

It’s that Creating Change time of year again!  For those of you who don’t know, Creating Change: The National Conference on LGBT Equality might be the largest conference of its kind, bringing thousands of LGBTQ advocates, leaders, policymakers, and allies together annually.  This year, the conference will be held at the Hilton of the Americas in Houston, TX January 29-February 2.

NQAPIA has historically played a leading role in convening programming for AAPIs at the conference.  This year will be no different, and we are involved with a number of sessions relevant to AAPIs and communities of color.

For those in our communities who celebrate, Lunar New Year this year happens during the conference, as we welcome the Year of the Horse.  We are planning a special recognition of this holiday to share with the entire conference.

A list of events we are involved in that are relevant for AAPI communities appears below.  Many of them are open to all and we encourage active participation.  Allies’ respect for the safe spaces designated specifically for AAPIs is appreciated:

Thursday, January 29

9:00 AM – 6:30 PM (Day-Long Institutes)

AAPI FocusBuilding a Queer AAPI Movement

Day-Long Institute safe space for AAPIs


Friday, January 25

10:45 AM – 12:15 PM (Workshop Session 2)

Building a South Asian Queer Movement

Session on queer South Asian movement building- open to all


6:30 PM – 7:30 PM (Caucus Session 1)

South Asian Caucus

Safe space for self-identified South Asian participants*


Saturday, February 1

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM (Workshop Session 5)

Build Community Through Arts, Storytelling and Media

Session presented by the Visibility Project*

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Because You’re Brown, Honey Gurl!: A Workshop on Race, Capitalism, and Desire

Session presented by Janani Balasubramaniam and Alok Vaid-Menon. Three hour workshop for people of color.*


10:45 AM – 12:15 PM (Workshop Session 6)

Mapping Power: LGBTQ AAPI Organizing for Social Change

NQAPIA AAPI Organizing Workshop open to all

12:15 PM – 1:15 PM 

Special Lunch Discussion on Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth: ROOM 333

Discussion for people of color on the implications of California bill AB1266 (School Success and Opportunity Act). Lunch will be provided.


4:45 PM – 6:15 PM (Workshop Session 8)

From Sugarland to the Beltway: Local and Federal Responses in the Fight for Immigrant Justice

NQAPIA Immigration Workshop open to all


6:30PM – 7:30 PM: (Caucus Session 2)

Building Our QAPI Movement: A Caucus for Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders

Safe space for self-identified AAPI participants


8:00 PM (Time and Venue TBD)

QPOC Meet-Up and Reception


Sunday, February 2

9:30 AM – 11:00 AM (Workshop Session 9)

Two Spirits, One Heart: A Mother’s Love, a Transgender Son’s Courage: ROOM 335B

A panel by Marsha Aizumi, API PFLAG- SGV, and Aiden Aizumi*


[*Not officially affiliated with NQAPIA]


A highlight of our programming at Creating Change will be the fourth annual AAPI Institute.

This Institute seeks to further the presence, visibility, and engagement of AAPIs in LGBT social justice movements as well as at Creating Change. The Institute is open only to AAPIs. The theme of this year’s Institute is “Healing, Resilience, and Wellbeing in Queer AAPI Communities.” Sessions will focus on community building, skills development, and education on issues of common concern, including mental health and wellness/ self-care.

Expected outcomes for the Institute include:

  • A robust network of LGBT AAPI activists around the country
  • Concrete strategies to overcome barriers that frustrate LGBT AAPI organizing
  • Deeper understanding of AAPI LGBT communities and histories, and common issues of concern
  • Increased leadership and organizing skills
  • A sharper analysis of intersecting oppressions at work in our communities, including (but not limited to): homophobia, transphobia, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, heteronormativity, religious bigotry, colonialism/imperialism, ableism, ageism and their impact on building a queer AAPI movement.


For more information, contact Ben de Guzman: (e-mail); 202-422-4909 (cell)


NQAPIA at Creating Change

NQAPIA is excited to join our friends, allies, and partners at this year’s Creating Change Conference in Atlanta, January 24- 27.    Please find a list of the activities we’re coordinating below, including the third annual AAPI Institute on Thursday, January 24.  Many of these events are open to all and we encourage active participation.  Allies’ respect for the safe spaces designated specifically for AAPIs is appreciated.



NQAPIA at Creating Change 2011






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Support Available to attend AAPI Institute at Creating Change

NQAPIA is, for the third year in a row, helping plan an all day AAPI Institute at The National Conference on  LGBT Equality: Creating Change.  Thanks to our friends at the Queer Justice Fund of Asian Americans/ Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy and API Equality- Northern California, a special fund is available to support participation in the AAPI Institute.

This scholarship is being offered to assist in bringing underserved and underrepresented Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the Task Force’s Creating Change Conference to attend the day-long AAPI Institute. The scholarship will provide transportation and/or lodging, but not registration to the conference. In order to apply for this scholarship, you must complete this form by December 31, 2012. When the committee decides on who will receive the scholarship, all recipients will need to be accessible by phone between January 4th – January 7th to finalize your accommodations. Additionally, you are required to attend the day-long AAPI Institute on Thursday, January 24th and arrive before 8PM on Wednesday, the 23rd.

Click here for more information and to apply.

Planning Committee of the first AAPI Institute at 2011 Creating Change

Are you going to Creating Change?



NQAPIA is excited about heading South for the 25th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change.  This not-to-be-missed event will be held at the Hilton Atlanta on January 23-27.

We will be working with our friends, including API Equality- Northern California and API Equality- Los Angeles on exciting programming to uplift and support the voices of LGBTQ Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders at what is (in our mind) the largest gathering of queer social justice activists in the country.

Check out the description of our AAPI Institute that will be held on January 24 here.

Are you going?  Tell us your Asian American Creating Change story in the comments section below.  Or hit us up on our Facebook page and share it there!  If you’re interested in helping out, e-mail us at and let us know.


Creating Change Together,

Ben de Guzman, NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs

Glenn Magpantay, NQAPIA Co-Director for Development

Alison Lin, NQAPIA Co-Chair



Making a Splash In Charm City: NQAPIA at Creating Change

Making a Splash In Charm City: NQAPIA at Creating Change

NQAPIA and its partners helped raise the profile of Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) again this year at Creating Change: The National Conference on LGBT Equality.  Put on by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Creating Change is one of (if not the) largest LGBT social justice conferences in the country.  This year, Creating Change was held January 25-29 in “Charm City” at the Hilton Baltimore and featured a number of sessions put on by NQAPIA, including:

1)   AAPI Institute: A day-long session that brought together 50 participants from around the country for programming to build skills and knowledge for AAPI LGBT activists.  The AAPI Institute was put on by NQAPIA, API Equality- Los Angeles, API Equality- Northern California, and the Queer Justice Fund of Asian Americans/ Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy.

2)   AAPI Caucus:  A jam-packed room of over 70 AAPIs came together to connect and build community.  NQAPIA led this session, with Board members such as Alison Lin, Rakesh Modi and Anjali Chauhdry facilitating a lively discussion.

3)   We’re Here! We’re Queer! We Eat Paneer!:  This session was led by Glenn Magpantay, NQAPIA Co-Director for Development, Rakesh Modi, NQAPIA Co-Chair and former chair of Trikone, Aneesa Sen, SALGA- NYC Steering Committee Member, and focused on organizing in AAPI LGBT communities.

4)   Queer/ Trans and Immigrant Identities: Bringing Movements Together: Ben de Guzman, NQAPIA Co-Diretor for Programs led this session, along with Laurent Widjaya, from HotPot! in Philadelphia and Lisbeth Melendez- Rivera, Director of Unid@s, the  Latino/a LGBT human rights organization.

NQAPIA also supported the LGBTQ Youth of Color Reception and Town Hall Meeting, sponsored by the National Education Association’s Office of Minority Community Outreach.  This event was put on in collaboration with the National Black Justice Coalition.