This Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), Rewire.Information is highlighting the tactics Asian and Pacific Islander American communities were at the vanguard of the reproductive justice motion all the way through its formation and lately.

We’ve fought for our rights, we’ve been at the vanguard of actions, and we’ve enacted modern alternate.

Despite the fact that our activism is ceaselessly obscured from mainstream awareness, Asian and Pacific American (APA) ladies, transgender, and gender nonconforming other folks were at the vanguard of actions for survivor advocacy, LGBTQ liberation, physically autonomy, and intercourse positivity.

This APAHM, Rewire.Information is spotlighting APA activists all the way through historical past and lately who’ve been at the entrance traces within the ongoing battle for gender justice.

Anannya Bhattacharjee 

Born, raised, and recently founded in India, Anannya Bhattacharjee is a exertions activist and industry unionist whose early organizing took root in New York Town, the place she advocated for immigrants’ rights, gender justice, and exertions rights inside the town’s rising South Asian group.

Bhattacharjee moved to the USA for school and started organizing round anti-imperialism on campus, and dropped out of faculty to concentrate on group organizing. In 1989, she and 4 different South Asian ladies—Mallika Dutt, Tula Goenka, Geetanjali Misra, and Romita Shetty—based Sakhi for South Asian Girls, an group that serves and advocates for survivors of gender-based violence in New York Town’s South Asian immigrant communities.

“What Sakhi did used to be deliver in combination problems round ethnicity and gender, which have been in the past now not mentioned in our communities,” wrote Margaret Abraham, creator of the 2000 e book Talking the Unspeakable: Marital Violence Amongst South Asian Immigrants in the USA. “They shifted home violence from a personal circle of relatives drawback to a public social factor.”

Bhattacharjee served as the primary govt director of CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, a grassroots coalition organizing throughout low-income and working-class Asian immigrant communities additionally based in New York Town within the overdue 1980s. She contributed to shaping the group’s methods, that have served home staff, taxi drivers, distributors, and Southeast Asian refugees, and extra. She may be a cofounder of SAMAR, a South Asian mag that revealed revolutionary cultural research from the 1990s to the early 2000s, and Staff Awaaz (Staff’ Voice), a New York Town-based nonprofit that helps South Asian home staff.

“Girls who got here into Sakhi with out figuring out themselves as feminists left with figuring out as feminists in some way that made sense to them as South Asian ladies.” –Anannya Bhattacharjee

Cecilia Chung 

Cecilia Chung, a transgender Chinese language American girl dwelling with HIV, has been heralded as an LGBTQ icon for her paintings over 20 years advocating for trans rights and destigmatizing HIV/AIDS.

Chung used to be born and raised in Hong Kong; her circle of relatives immigrated to Los Angeles in 1984. Chung relocated to San Francisco a 12 months later to wait school and has been founded there ever since. She started her transition within the early 1990s after graduating from school, whilst operating as a court docket interpreter in Santa Clara County, however used to be let pass from her activity after she began appearing extra female. This ended in a troublesome length when she engaged in survival intercourse paintings, self-medicating her melancholy with drug use, and handled brief homelessness. In 1993, Chung examined certain for HIV, and in 1995, she used to be stabbed right through a sexual attack.

Quickly after the violent assault, which ended in a reconciliation together with her circle of relatives who had solid her out for popping out as trans, Chung started operating as an HIV take a look at counselor at Ferguson Position, a residential remedy facility for other folks with HIV, and later as a caseworker for a homeless housing program. (In 1994, she used to be a member of San Francisco’s Transgender Discrimination Taskforce, a bunch that documented discrimination towards trans folks that ended in town’s pioneering anti-discrimination ordinances and insurance policies.)

In 2001, she was the primary Asian and primary transgender girl elected as president of San Francisco’s LGBT Delight Birthday celebration Committee board, and likewise joined the board of administrators of the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Heart—a spot the place Chung had as soon as sought services and products from and the place she endured her HIV schooling and advocacy paintings. In 2004, she helped release the Trans March, now probably the most biggest trans occasions on this planet. These days, Chung is director of analysis and strategic tasks for the Transgender Regulation Heart, for which she was the primary deputy director in 2005, serving to the group form its project.

“I feel younger individuals who can’t pop out or communicate to their oldsters about who they’re want to bear in mind this: don’t let all of the ones hiccups stay you from experiencing lifestyles and pleasure. I feel no matter your factor is, it’ll come naturally should you permit it to.” –Cecilia Chung

Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu 

Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, often referred to as Kumu Hina, is a Local Hawaiian transgender girl and māhū, or any person who embodies a 3rd gender someplace between female and male. In Hawaiian tradition, māhū are known as assets of historic knowledge.

Born within the Nu’uanu district of O’ahu, Wong-Kalu was a well known group chief as a kumu hula (grasp hula trainer) and cultural director at Hālau Lōkahi constitution college, which instills Local Hawaiian tradition and historical past into its instructional methods. She used to be a founding member of Kulia Na Mamo, a group group established in 2003 that serves the desires of māhūwahine, or transgender ladies, in Honolulu.

Two years ahead of the U.S. Excellent Courtroom legalized same-sex marriage, Wong-Kalu advocated for marriage equality, which used to be being debated by way of the Hawaii State Legislature on the time, in an op-ed for the Honolulu Megastar-Advertiser that reminded Local Hawaiian other folks of the prestigious queerness inside their cultural heritage. In 2014, she ran for an at-large seat at the Place of work of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees, turning into probably the most first out transgender other folks to run for statewide political place of work.

The similar 12 months, she used to be the topic of a characteristic documentary, Kumu Hina, about her lifestyles, and went directly to collaborate with the similar filmmakers to supply two movies that spotlight the problems of Indigenous transgender communities within the South Pacific.

“Get up, kanaka maoli [Native Hawaiians]! If you happen to toughen the Westernized Christian view of marriage, then so be it—however please don’t fake that your selection has anything else to do with Hawaiian concept or values.” –Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu

Terisa Siagatonu 

Terisa Siagatonu is a queer Samoan spoken phrase poet, educator, and organizer founded in Oakland, California. Her poetry tackles gender, race, colonialism, rape tradition, masculinity, and extra.

Her writing has been printed in Poetry mag and featured on NPR, HuffPost, On a regular basis Feminism, and the Mum or dad, amongst others. She has additionally spoken and carried out at more than a few venues, together with the White Area right through the Obama management, the 2010 Oakland Delight Competition, and the 2015 United Countries Convention on Local weather Alternate in Paris. In 2012, then-President Barack Obama known Siagatonu as a “Champion of Alternate” for her paintings in Pacific Islander communities.

Siagatonu in the past labored as a program director for PIER: the Pacific Islander Training and Retention venture on the College of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and has arranged with different group teams corresponding to One Love Oceania, a queer Pacific Islander ladies’s group founded within the Bay House, the Samoan Group Construction Heart in San Francisco, and Empowering Pacific Islander Communities in Los Angeles. She may be a co-founder of The Root Slam, a poetry venue in Oakland, and has been concerned with Early life Speaks, a San Francisco-based arts and literacy nonprofit that encourages formative years to precise themselves thru poetry, spoken phrase, and civic engagement.

“From Cali’s coast to Oceania’s edge/ from my swollen middle to the valley in my voice/ the one who my love echos between eternally/ for those I intend to die for/ and those who now perceive/ why they’re alive.” –Terisa Siagatonu

Yin Q

Yin Q is a intercourse employee rights activist and educator and practitioner of bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism (BDSM). Maximum of Q’s paintings is meant to assist destigmatize and demystify BDSM, intercourse paintings, and kink, in addition to offering areas, sources, and illustration for intercourse staff.

They function a co-director for Pink Canary Track (RCS), a grassroots group based in 2018 that advocates and gives sources for Asian and migrant intercourse staff, maximum of whom are founded in Queens, New York. They’re additionally the founder and artistic director of Kink Out, a intercourse paintings and kink certain tournament sequence, which might be web hosting a web-based rally for Global Whores Day in June.

In 2017, Q wrote and produced Mercy Mistress, a internet sequence according to their reports as a a queer, Chinese language American dominatrix dwelling in New York Town. Ultimate 12 months, they produced and directed Fly in Energy, a brief documentary concerning the paintings of RCS and Yang Track, a Chinese language migrant therapeutic massage parlor employee who fell to her demise in 2017 right through a police raid. Q just lately won an NYC Girls’s Fund for Media, Tune, and Theatre grant to broaden the fast video into an extended documentary.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Q is operating with RCS to supply direct assist to its individuals—most commonly migrant therapeutic massage parlor staff whose livelihoods were impacted by way of COVID-19 racism since even ahead of companies had been close down—within the type of monetary help, groceries, and well being provides.

“Such a lot of other folks nonetheless raise the concept that we must save the prostitute which could be very second-wave feminism. I feel that by way of giving those tales a face and a human tale, and appearing company, that’s how empowerment works.” –Yin Q

Sonalee Rashatwar 

Sonalee Rashatwar, identified extra extensively as her Instagram care for, @thefatsextherapist, is a 32-year-old intercourse therapist, scientific social employee, educator, and organizer. She co-owns the Radical Remedy Heart in Philadelphia and brings in her lived enjoy as a fats, bisexual, nonbinary Indian American survivor of home violence into her follow.

After graduating from Temple College in 2011, Rashatwar volunteered for a home violence reaction staff. Via her public advocacy and her remedy follow, that are amplified for her greater than 100,000 fans on Instagram, Rashatwar brings an intensive self-love framework into her paintings not to best problem racism and misogyny but in addition problems with sizeism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, colonialism, colorism, and Islamophobia.

“Once we educate any person to enjoy disgrace according to your frame, whether or not it’s about race, frame dimension, incapacity, and we internalize that disgrace, we internalize this feeling of our frame having much less self esteem than different our bodies,” Rashatwar informed the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2019. She ceaselessly speaks out towards nutrition tradition and fatphobia, and pushes for higher well being get entry to for fats other folks, going additional than the ceaselessly “apolitical” mainstream frame positivity motion,

“Excitement could be very virtuous. We’d like meals excitement and sexual excitement to live to tell the tale this capitalist nightmare. And it’s OK. I provide you with permission.” –Sonalee Rashatwar

AC Dumlao 

Name Me They is a web-based social justice platform created and run by way of AC Dumlao, a 29-year-old queer, trans, nonbinary Filipino American activist and educator founded in New York Town. Via their private platform and paintings as a program supervisor on the Transgender Felony Protection & Training Fund (TLDEF), Dumlao advocates for the visibility and inclusion of trans, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary communities.

Dumlao manages TLDEF’s The Title Alternate Venture, which connects low-income transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary other folks with professional bono criminal illustration right through their title alternate procedure. They additionally lead trainings for trans cultural competency displays and workshops and run different group schooling tasks for the group. Their activism used to be known in 2019 after they had been named an NYC Delight Group Hero.

“As a non-binary individual navigating the sector with non-Eu facial options and a petite brown frame this is cis-assumed, I proportion reports of each my social dysphoria and gender euphoria with the intention to now not best create visibility, however to paintings thru my chronic discovery strategy of what non-binary id and expression imply to me.” –AC Dumlao

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