In commemoration of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) 2015, B-Change Foundation is extremely pleased to announce the coinciding launch of its peer support web-app for young people in Asia of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions (SOGIEs). Called “BE” (accessible through www.be-app.me), the web-app is designed to be a multi-lingual online community center, and accessible through mobile devices.
The launch of “BE” comes at a time when communities of young people of diverse SOGIE, - including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people - face immense challenges to mental health, safety and well-being. Southeast Asia’s SOGIE communities suffer systematic discrimination, stigma, rights deprivation and often violence perpetrated by the state, security forces, employers, universities, health care providers, faith-based institutions, and even family members – violating fundamental rights guaranteed by national and international law.
During the launch of “BE”, Laurindo Garcia, the founder of B-Change, stated that: “Our team is committed to collaborate with partners to improve the well-being of young LGBTIs in Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Singapore. More importantly, though, is that we’re committed to this for the long-haul. Conservative estimates tell us there are around one million young people of diverse identities and orientations across our five cities who have access to smartphones and mobile internet. The launch of the “BE” web-app is our first major step to helping these young people find the support they need, and to lead happier lives.”
IDAHOT is a day to celebrate sexual and gender diversities, and at “BE”, we are celebrating by empowering and supporting the well-being of young people to embrace their SOGIE, and to live positively. For its IDAHOT 2015 launch, “BE” will be releasing a series of videos featuring regional SOGIE advocates talking about the challenges facing the community, and how young people can find solutions to addressing these issues. The videos were produced with support from the Being LGBT in Asia initiative.
The “BE” web-app offers a safer space for young people of diverse SOGIE to ask questions amongst their peers, and to connect with others in the community. “BE” users will have access to high quality educational information, and trained multilingual Community Managers will be on stand-by to help people in need of direct assistance at certain times of the day. “BE” also connects and refers users to community organizations and health providers. “BE” users will be able to locate such services near their current location through online maps with geo-tagging functionality. And on “BE”, users will also have the opportunity to provide real-time feedback to these service providers and organisations.
BE is currently available in English, Bahasa Indonesia, and Thai, with Chinese, Bahasa Malaysia and other major Asian languages to be added in the near future.
Download the press release from DropBox.