NQAPIA Joins LGBTQ Organizations in Responsding to 2014 DOJ Guidance on Profiling

Today, December 9, NQAPIA joined LGBTQ organizations in responding to the U.S. Department of Justice Guidance on Profiling released on December 8, 2104.

A national coalition of LGBTQ organizations advocating on criminal justice issues including the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), the Columbia University Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, Streetwise and Safe (SAS) and the American Civil Liberties Union welcomed yesterday’s announcement of a long awaited update to the 2003 guidance banning racial profiling by federal law enforcement agencies.

The new guidance announced by Attorney General Eric Holder expands the existing ban on racial profiling by federal law enforcement agents to also bar the use of sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity, along with national origin and religion, to any degree in the initiation of law enforcement interactions.

As the nation continues to be rocked by the all too often deadly effects of profiling and discriminatory policing practices illustrated by the killings of Mike Brown, Eric Gardner, Tanesha Edwards, Aura Rosser, and so many others, LGBTQ organizations welcomed this historic move to recognize and redress police profiling of all members of communities of color, including women and LGBTQ people of color. From federal investigations in New Orleans and Puerto Rico, to research by LGBTQ organizations including Lambda Legal, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National LGBTQ Task Force, to the voices of communities with whom we work on the ground, it is clear that police profiling of LGBTQ people – particularly people of color – is an everyday occurrence. The expansion of protections against profiling by federal law enforcement agencies based on sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity is both an historic and critical step toward remedying these injustices.

However, the revised guidance includes broad exceptions that dampen the effect of these important protections. The carve-outs for Customs and Border Patrol, Transportation Security Administration, and certain anti-terror investigations are simply unacceptable. Racial profiling is not an investigative technique—it is discrimination, period.We urge the Administration to expand these protections to reach all federal and federally funded law enforcement activities, including and especially those which target Muslim communities and take place at our borders, which until all too recently were closed to LGBTQ immigrants. LGBTQ migrants continue to face significant barriers to entry and profiling and discriminatory policing by CBP and TSA agents, and Muslim LGBTQ people are among those targeted by unacceptable profiling practices pursued in the name of “national security.”

Additionally, while setting an important example for law enforcement agencies across the country, the guidance is neither mandatory nor does it apply to most state and local law enforcement activities. The Guidance also doesn’t include clear accountability measures beyond internal investigations, which do not allow for transparency or independent accountability. As a result, the guidance will not address the majority of profiling faced by LGBTQ people.

Accordingly, the undersigned organizations, consistent with the recommendations made in A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations to Address the Criminalization of LGBT People and People Living with HIV, urge state and local law enforcement agencies to adopt similarly expansive profiling bans without exceptions, and law enforcement agencies at all levels to mandate and effectively enforce them.

Finally, we urge Congress to take action to pass an expanded version of the End Racial Profiling Act which includes protections from profiling based on gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation in order to ensure that the federal ban against profiling becomes the law of the land, and offer effective protections to all people affected by police profiling.


American Civil Liberties Union

Audre Lorde Project

The Center for Constitutional Rights

The Equity Project

Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement

Immigration Equality

National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)

National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP)

National Immigrant Justice Center

National LGBTQ Task Force

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)

Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM)

Southerners on New Ground (SONG)

Streetwise and Safe (SAS)

Transgender Law Center

NQAPIA Statement on Grand Jury Decision Regarding the Shooting of Michael Brown

NQAPIA stands in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown and all those who protest injustice.  As LGBT Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders, we know too well the pains of those who suffer under unbridled police misconduct and other law enforcement officials. We stand arm in arm with the community of Ferguson to demand justice for Mike Brown. Black lives matter and we do not accept the decision of the Grand Jury.

Violence perpetrated by state actors in the streets of Ferguson, at immigration detention center, or at the border must be curtailed and the safety and security of all people of color–African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans — and especially young people, immigrants, people of transgender experiences must be safeguarded. Law enforcement agencies must be held accountable to the communities they swore to serve and protect.

The Grand Jury’s refusal to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown is a statement by our Justice System that if you wear a badge, you do no not have to be accountable to the same laws as the people in this nation. It is a statement that black lives don’t matter and that American judicial system will continue to use two different water fountains: One for those who wear the badge and another for “colored” people.

NQAPIA calls on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the Ferguson Police Department for systematic civil rights violations. We also call on the U.S. Department of Justice to issue guidance on racial and religious profiling to provide safeguard our communities from state actors.

NQAPIA calls on our queer Asian community to rise up and protest injustice; to stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson. Join protests around the nation to demand justice for Mike Brown.

#MikeBrown #BlackLivesMatter #Solidarity


Breaking News: President Obama Announces Action on Immigration; Queer Asians respond

For Immediate Release: November 21, 2014
Media  Contacts:
Pabitra Benjamin, NQAPIA Organizing Director
Roberta sklar 917-704-6358
(For Interview opportunities)


 The President’s action is a great step forward but the devil, and our dignity, are often in the details.” – Pabitra Benjamin, NQAPIA   

On Thursday Nov 20, President Obama, in an historic announcement of Executive Action regarding immigration reform, talked about how immigrants came to the United States to contribute to American’s successes. “At the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance we know that LGBT immigrants, whether they are on a visa or undocumented, also contribute to the LGBT community’s successes. The LGBT community is strengthened because of LGBT immigrants,” said Aya Tasaki, an immigrant, law student, and NQAPIA Board Member.

NQAPIA applauds the President’s actions,” said Pabitra Benjamin, NQAPIA Organizing Director.  “It will grant administrative relief to millions of undocumented immigrants.  The President’s action will have tremendous impact on the lives of so many LGBT Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islanders through the expanded Deferred Action (DACA) Program; visas for workers in the Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Math; and change in those prioritized for deportation.   We know that so many LGBT AAPIs who are here on worker visas, entered as childhood arrivals, will benefit from these actions.”

The elimination of Secure Communities, where local police are given the power to enforce complicated immigration laws, will curb some of the state violence that so many immigrants experience and fear. However, the continued focus on enforcement through the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), increase in border security and renewed focus on ‘terrorism’ will still allow law enforcement agencies to cast a broad dragnet in criminalizing and profiling our communities.

We were also dismayed that the President did not include the parents of Dreamers for relief, create a new non-familial category for LGBT immigration, access to healthcare for undocumented immigrants or address alternatives for transgender people in detention.

LGBT AAPIs across the country worked incredibly hard for the past several years to urge Congress to enact a comprehensive immigration reform bill and the President to take bold administrative action.   We collected thousands of postcards, made hundreds of phone calls, met with lawmakers, and had demonstrations across the country.  The President’s actions do not address every one of our issues but its a major step in the right direction.

These changes, within the limits of executive power are temporary and do not provide a path to citizenship.  Now is the time for the Congress to turn away from partisan politicking, and focus on humane legislation that will give us true comprehensive Immigration reform. Over the coming months, NQAPIA will work with the administration through implementation and to address these issues for the LGBT AAPI community. We’ll continue to press Congress to enact permanent, inclusive, and comprehensive immigration reform.  For NQAPIA, no one can be left behind in reform.

“The devil, and our dignity, are often in the details,”  Benjamin concluded.


The National Queer Asian Pacific IslanderAlliance (NQAPIA) is a federation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI)organizations.  We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT AAPIgroups, develop leadership, promote visibility, educate our community, enhance grassroots organizing, expand collaborations, and challenge homophobia and racism.

NQAPIA Supports the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

NQAPIA is proud to take part in activities around the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

We are joining AAPI national organizations in a contingent to take part in the National Action to Realize the Dream March & Rally on Saturday, August 24.  People interested in joining us in Washington, DC can meet up at 8:00am at the southeast side of the World War II  Memorial.

RSVP for updates and logistics:


We have also joined a list of over forty LGBT organizations supporting the March that signed the following open letter .

An Open Letter in Support of 50th Anniversary of March on Washington

Over the past year, our community has celebrated tremendous wins in the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality and justice.

We have collectively cheered the first ever Senate committee markup of an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the Social Security Administration’s modernization of its gender marker policy, and U.S. Supreme Court wins on marriage equality in the Windsor and Perry rulings. But we remain frustrated that ENDA is still not the law of the land and we’re angered and deeply disappointed with the Court’s decision to turn back critical parts of the historic Voting Rights Act in Shelby.

We must channel this frustration and disappointment into action to tackle employment discrimination, voter suppression tactics, immigration reform and racial profiling, to name only a few.

This month we have an opportunity to bring the combined energy from our victories to a major gathering that will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom. History was made that day 50 years ago when thousands came to Washington, D.C. to lift up their voices in support of civil rights, employment protection and an end to racial segregation in our nation’s schools. On August 24, 2013, we will rededicate ourselves to that dream of equality and justice.

It has been over 40 years since Stonewall and the birth of the modern LGBTQ rights movement. As national, state and local LGBTQ organizations, we know that while there have been many advancements over the last four decades since Stonewall and the five decades since the 1963 March, there is still much more work to be done. We are proud to commemorate the 1963 March and, once again, come together and collectively take action to “Realize the Dream.”

At a time when the nation still does not have clear federal laws barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, we still need to step up and be visible. We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to find and keep a job in a safe work environment with a living wage regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. We also believe that all members of our community, whether they are seniors, middle-aged or youth, deserve to be safe from violence, harassment, exploitation and racial profiling when they are at home, school, work, or in any other public places. As LGBTQ people, we believe that quality health care should be accessible, affordable and culturally competent. We believe that the 11 million undocumented immigrants, including at least 267,000 undocumented LGBT people living in this country, should have a real pathway to citizenship and people from all backgrounds should be able to stay with their families. We believe these are issues that cut across all lines of gender, race and ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation, ability and immigration status. It’s time to join forces and demonstrate our collective power.

Take Action

Working together, this rally and mobilization is an opportunity to lift up the voices of LGBT people as part of a broad progressive agenda for social and economic justice. Please join us on Saturday, August 24, 2013, at 8 AM – 3 PM in Washington, D.C. at the DC War Memorial at 900 Independence Ave, SW, Washington, DC 20245.  (The Memorial is located across Independence Ave. from the Martin Luther King Memorial), as we come together in support of freedom and justice!

In Solidarity,

Get Equal
Human Rights Campaign
National Black Justice Coalition
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Pride at Work, AFL-CIO



Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
Believe Out Loud
Bethel Christian Church, DC
Bisexual Resource Center
Center for Black Equity
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals
Equality Federation
Family Equality Council
The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries
Freedom to Marry
Freedom to Work
Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network)
GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders)
GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality
GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network)
Harvey Milk Foundation
Immigration Equality
Lambda Legal
Leadership Team of NASPA GLBT Knowledge Community
Marriage Equality USA
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
PFLAG National
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)
The Trevor Project
Trans Advocacy Network
Trans People of Color Coalition
Transgender Law Center
Unid@s, The National Latin@ LGBT Human rights Organization

Intern Corner: Justice for Trayvon Martin & The OCA National Convention

Justice for  Trayvon Martin by Steven

When the Trayvon Martin murder happened, it struck me as yet another crime against people of color that some refuse to acknowledge as racism. However, it was the verdict that exempted George Zimmerman from murder that felt like a slap in the face.  When these hate crimes happen, it reminds me of the bias that individuals still hold, though I would always respond with the hope that justice will somehow address oppression. But when our “justice” system fails to declare these actions as crimes, I am reminded that our institutions actually protect racism.

Read more

NQAPIA Submits Statement at Senate Hearing on Hate Crimes

On September 19, NQAPIA joined a standing room only audience (which spilled over into an overflow room) to witness the Senate Hearing on Hate Crimes and Domestic Extremism.  The hearing focused on hate crimes, particularly in the aftermath of the devastating shooting of a Sikh gurdwara (temple) in Oak Creek, WI.


NQAPIA submitted testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will now be included in the proceedings from the Hearing.  The testimony is below.

Included as part of its testimony is the  joint statement of solidarity from the LGBT community that NQAPIA drafted and was signed by over 30 national and local LGBT organizations from around the country.


photo credit: SAALT


Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights

815 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510


Re:            Hearing, September 19, 2012, Hate Crimes and the Threat of Domestic Extremism

Dear Subcommittee Members:

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) applauds the Subcommittee on holding today’s hearing on this very important topic.  Events around the country and abroad have put these issues of intolerance and extremism at the top of the news, and we think it is important to call for reasoned voices and non-violence to address the issues of the day.  As a federation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations, we know the impact of violence in our communities because we are subject to the intersections of racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and anti-religious sentiment.   

The unconscionable rise of violence in recent months that has devastated our communities has made these intersections and their impacts real for NQAPIA and the communities we serve.  The South Asian LGBT organizations we work with tell us all too real stories about discrimination and bigotry they face, not only because of the color of their skin and their religious traditions, but also because of how they live their lives as LGBT people in their families and communities.  Our work with faith partners such as the Queer Muslim Working Group reveals the impact that not only anti-Muslim sentiment from religious fundamentalists has on our communities, but the impact of homophobia and transphobia as well.

NQAPIA drafted an LGBT sign-on letter that over 30 local and national organizations joined in solidarity with the victims of the August 5 shooting at the Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, WI and the August 6 fire at a mosque in Joplin, MO to specifically articulate the impact that such violence has on us as LGBT communities (that letter is included here as part of our statement of record).  The debates around extremism and violence only became more fraught with urgency when a gunman shot at the Family Research Council a few short days later and we joined another statement from the LGBT community to oppose violence as a means of resolving differences.

Hate crimes continue to be a serious problem.  Recent FBI statistics that document over 6,600 hate crimes may actually be undercounting the severity of the problem.  A 2005 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics suggests that the actual figures may be as high as 15 times what is being reported.  The domestic extremism that opens up the political and cultural space to somehow rationalize violence and hate crimes has no place in our communities.  We know that religious freedom and First Amendment protections are not mutually exclusive and that both can and must be held in balance to ensure our civil liberties.

Violent acts that target people for the characteristics that make them different defy the pluralism that makes America thrive.  The intersections of hate violence and domestic extremism are complex and we commend you for taking this on.  They encompass a range of issues related to homophobia, xenophobia, and anti-religious sentiment both locally, and in an international context.  We urge the Committee to make findings on the causes of and solutions to this violence and to take action to prevent hate before it is too late to act.  The times that we live in demand solutions that think big and refuse to oversimplify and we stand ready to work with you to create and implement those solutions.



Ben de Guzman

Co-Director for Programs

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance


NQAPIA Looking Forward to Big Week in Washington, DC!

NQAPIA at the White House: July 19

NQAPIA will be taking part in a number of important events next week on Capitol Hill, with the White House, and with our national advocacy partners to bringing the voices of Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) LGBT organizations to bear on important issues:


Tuesday, September 18

“Closets are for Clothes: Being LGBT and POC [People of Color] in America National Briefing”

10:00am- 11:30am

Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2237

NQAPIA joins the National Black Justice Coalition and the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, as well as other national organizations to host this briefing.  Dr. Juan Battle from the City University of New York will present findings from the Social Justice Sexuality Project.


Wednesday, September 19

Senate Hearing: “Hate Crimes & the Threat of Domestic Extremism”


Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 226

In the wake of the tragic shootings in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the US Senate announced that it will hold a hearing on hate crimes and the threats posed by extremist hate groups in America. We strongly urge everyone to honor the victims of Oak Creek by physically being at the hearing as a show of community strength to the United States Senate.

Later that evening, NQAPIA is proud to join LGBT Emerging Leaders at a special reception hosted at the Vice President’s Residence.  Many AAPI youth activists who have worked with NQAPIA on a variety of initiatives were invited to this exclusive event, and we look forward to recognizing their fabulousness.


Thursday, September 20

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) Press Briefing and Webinar:  Launch of 2012 Policy Platform: Framing Issues and Recommendations to Improve the Lives of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities



The 2012 Policy Platform follows a tradition NCAPA began in 2004 to present a comprehensive set of policy recommendations related to the Asian American & Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander community in the issue areas of Civil Rights, Education, Health, Housing and Economic Justice, and Immigration every four years.


NQAPIA is eager to put our communities’ voices forward at these opportunities next week.  If you’re able to join us- physically, by livestreaming, or by social media- we hope you can be part of these important conversations!

In partnership,

Ben de Guzman, Co-Director for Programs





NQAPIA and NCAPA are projects of the Tides Center

NQAPIA Jointly Releases Report on LGBT Families of Color

Children Living in LGBT Families of Color Face Double Jeopardy

Archaic family laws, LGBT social stigma, and racial/ethnic discrimination combine to create disparate impact

February 28, 2012


Steve Majors | Communications Director

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — A new report released today shows how children living in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families of color have become collateral damage of antiquated laws, social stigma, and discrimination.

LGBT Families of Color: Facts at a Glance offers a snapshot of how racial and ethnic discrimination, anti-LGBT social stigma and outdated family laws intersect to hurt children living in LGBT families of color. Driven by the need to shed light on the double jeopardy faced by these children and families, the report brings together acoalition of public policy and family advocacy organizations: The National Black Justice Coalition, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, UNID@S, the Fighting Injustice to Reach Equality (FIRE) initiative, the Family Equality Council, the Movement Advancement Project and the Center for American Progress.

LGBT Families of Color: Facts at a Glance is available online at


“Contrary to popular stereotypes, both black and Latino gay and lesbian couples are morelikely to raise children than their white counterparts,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition. “Gay and lesbian couples of color are also more likely to become foster parents.”

The report finds that:

  • LGBT families are more racially and ethnically diverse than families headed by married heterosexual couples. Of same-sex couples with children, 41% are people of color, compared to 34% of married different-sex couples with children.
  • LGBT families of color face greater poverty. For example, 32% of children raised by black same-sex couples live in poverty, compared to 13% of children raised by black married different-sex couples and 7% of children raised by white married different-sex couples.



“Asian/Pacific Islander and Latino families are disproportionately foreign-born,” said Ben de Guzman, from the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance. “Children in these LGBT families of color face the triple burden of race-based discrimination,homophobia, and xenophobia. LGBT families where the parents or children areimmigrants are particularly vulnerable.”

Children being raised in LGBT families ofcolor also face:

  • Decreased access to health insurance.  While 74% of white workers receive health insurance coverage through work, only 42% of Latino workers, 50% of black workers, and 69% of Asian/Pacific Islander workers receive such coverage through their employers. LGBT families also face reduced access because most employers are not required to cover either the same-sex partners of their workers or that partner’s children.
  • Bullying and harassment impeding their ability to learn.  Children may be bullied or harassed based on their own race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity—or that of their parents. For example, a survey of LGBT parents and their school-age children found that 40% of students with LGBT parents reported being verbally harassed because of their families, and 43% of students of color with LGBT parents said that they had experienced harassment because of their race and ethnicity.

“In addition to racial/ethnic stereotypes and discrimination, LGBT families of color also face invisibility within the broader communities to which they belong and may have difficulty accessing appropriate services,” said Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, executive director of UNID@S.  “For instance, LGBT organizations are often based in LGBT neighborhoods, but many Latina/o LGBT families do not live in these areas. On the other hand, Latina/o organizations may not have created safe spaces for LGBT families.”


LGBT Families of Color: Facts at a Glance is a companion to the All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families report released in October 2011. It summarizes 12 common-sense legal, policy and cultural solutions that, taken together, could virtually eliminate the legal inequities that hurt children living in LGBT families of color. Some of those solutions include:

  • Legally recognizing LGBT families of color via parental recognition laws at the state level; marriage for gay and lesbian couples; and pathways to immigration and citizenship for binational and immigrant LGBT families.
  • Providing LGBT families of color with equal access to government-based economic protections such as safety net programs. Consistent, broad definitions of family within these programs should include domestic partners and other de facto parents.
  • Providing LGBT families of color and their children with equal access to health care and health insurance, as well as medical decision-making ability.
  • Protecting LGBT families of color and their children with non-discrimination laws and anti-bullying policies.
  • Provide LGBT families of color with accessible and culturally competent programs, services and support.


The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. NBJC’s mission is to end racism andhomophobia. Learn more at

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a federation of LGBTQ Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations seeking to build the capacity of local LGBT AAPI organizations, invigorate grassroots organizing, develop leadership, and challenge homophobia, racism, and anti-immigrant bias. Learn more at

The mission of Unid@s, the National Latina/oLesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Human Rights Organization is to create a multi-issue approach for advocacy, education and convening of and for ourcommunities. Guided by economic justice, feminist, environmental and pro-peace values, UNID@S joins a global effort to transform systems and policies to create the just and equitable world we know possible. Learn more at

Founded in 2006, the Movement Advancement Project is an independent think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and analysis that help speed equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Learn more at

Celebrating its 30th Anniversary, Family Equality Council connects, supports, and represents the one million lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents in this country and the two million children they are raising. Learn more

The Center for American Progress (CAP) is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. The Fighting Injustice to Reach Equality Initiative (FIRE) atCAP explores the intersections of race, sexual orientation, economics, and public policy.Learn more at

NQAPIA Expresses Outrage Over Pete Hoekstra Ad and Other Racist and Xenophobic Political Discourse

NQAPIA Joins national statement from Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations in response to Super Bowl ad in Michigan

NQAPIA added its name to the list of national Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations that issued a letter condemning racist and xenophobic political discourse in this campaign season in 2012.  The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), the leading coalition of national AAPI advocacy organizations issued a letter to the Democrat and Republican National Committees condemning the rise of political rhetoric that plays on racism and anti-immigrant sentiment.  This letter particularly responded to the racially charged political ad aired by former Congressman Pete Hoekstra in Michigan during the 2012 Superbowl.

NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs Ben de Guzman was able to address these issues in Michigan with students at the University of Michigan as part of OCA’s APIA-U Leadership 101 program, as well as at an event hosted by APIA-Vote Michigan.  Being in Michigan while this issue is still causing ripples in the political landscape, even as the community prepares for the 30th anniversary of the beating death of Vincent Chin in Detroit was particularly meaningful.

NQAPIA Statement: Gaurav Gopalan and South Asian LGBT Communities in Washington, DC

For Immediate Release: September 25, 2011


Ben de Guzman

NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs

Phone: 202-422-4909


The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is saddened to hear about the death of Gaurav Gopalan in Washington, DC. Gaurav died on September 10, 2011 and his death was pronounced a homicide ten days later. As a federation of Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) lesbian/ gay/ bisexual/ transgender/ queer (LGBTQ) organizations around the country, NQAPIA reaches out to its local member organization, KhushDC, the local DC based South Asian LGBT group that counted Gaurav as one of its members.

We strongly support and stand in solidarity with KhushDC’s work not only to wrap its arms around Gaurav’s chosen family in DC, but to hold authorities accountable and to demand safety for all our communities. Gaurav was a charming personality and a vibrant part of the family and community KhushDC has built in DC with its partners and his death diminishes us all.

NQAPIA and KhushDC have been working with an emerging coalition of DC Queer People of Color (QPOC) organizations and activists in response to Guarav’s murder, which is just the most recent example of a tragic and unconscionable string of violence against the LGBTQ community, the unfortunate majority of which have hit people of color and transgender people. Response to Gaurav’s murder was hampered as accurate details struggled to emerge, including conflicting initial accounts of his death, and then the autopsy to determine his death as a homicide. This confusion is an unfortunate residue of the lack of visibility and understanding our communities have with law enforcement, with the media and too many other institutions.

Gaurav’s murder has struck a nerve with South Asian, AAPI, and LGBT communities around the country. Rakesh Modi from Oakland, CA, NQAPIA’s Co-Chair, made the following statement:

“Many of us did not know Gaurav, never even heard of him. But his untimely death under mysterious circumstances brings to light not just the uncertainty of life, but also concerns of danger lurking just around the corner. As we mourn and grieve Gaurav’s passing, we also strengthen our support to one another. Let the death of this young, bright life bring us closer, in healing and in compassion and in the warmth of the thought that we are there for each other.”

NQAPIA has compiled resources and information about what is happening and how to support local communities in response to Gaurav’s death:

  • Organizations that serve South Asian, AAPI, and LGBT communities and which can and should be strong partners in providing support to Gaurav’s community and advocacy in response to his death:




The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance is a federation of Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, Pacific Islander lesbian/ gay/ bisexual/ transgender organizations and is a project of the Tides Center. For more information, e-mail or visit