Experiences of LGBTI in Asia and the Pacific captured for online community centre for young people

Lights, camera, action. The LoveFrankie/B-Change team on set AT the sidelines of the 'Being LGBTI in Asia Regional Dialogue' at United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, February 2015.

Lights, camera, action. The LoveFrankie/B-Change team on set AT the sidelines of the 'Being LGBTI in Asia Regional Dialogue' at United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, February 2015.

[Bangkok, Thailand] Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) activists and allies from across Asia and the Pacific participated in a rare opportunity to document their lived experiences on film.

The shoot took place at the side lines of the ‘Being LGBTI in Asia Regional Dialogue’ held at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok on February 25 to 27, 2015. B-Change Foundation collaborated with media partner Love Frankie to produce the films. The film are set for release exclusively by the Foundation’s peer support web-app called BE.

The interviews explored the experience of being LGBTI in Asia and the stories spanned several generations, cultures and religions. Common themes emerged as people shared moving personal accounts about coming out, overcoming discrimination and violence, and finding ways to cope in places where few options for health and legal support exist.

“The invisibility of the narratives of Asian LGBTIs contributes to stigma and discrimination because it enables flawed and incomplete stereotypes about the community,” said Jonas Bagas, Programme Associate at B-Change Foundation. “We asked LGBTI leaders from the region to share their stories to help break social and cultural barriers to acceptance.”

Some The Team behind B-Change's web online peer support service for young LGBTI (left to right): Jonas Bagas, Rinaldi Ridwan, Thilaga, Bo Percival, Timo Ojanen, Benjamin Hanckel and Laurindo Garcia.

Some The Team behind B-Change's web online peer support service for young LGBTI (left to right): Jonas Bagas, Rinaldi Ridwan, Thilaga, Bo Percival, Timo Ojanen, Benjamin Hanckel and Laurindo Garcia.

The interviews will be integrated into online educational resources delivered within the Foundation’s ground-breaking web-app. BE is an online community centre for young people and helps provide assistance on issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Personal narratives are an essential part of the toolkit that will help web-app users.

“This work highlights the importance of sharing stories and we are thrilled that our partners invested in ground-breaking work like this” added Laurindo Garcia, founder of the B-Change Group added, acknowledging UNDP, USAID and the Swedish Embassy, Bangkok who supported the filming process.

Upon reflecting on the experience Rebecca Mok, director at Love Frankie, found the process to be transformative for their whole team. “Through the interviews we conducted with young LGBTI community leaders, we were moved and inspired by those willing to pursue unencumbered happiness, despite the stigma attached to diverse sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“Love Frankie passionately believes in the power of story telling for social change and we were honoured to be able to listen to and capture some of the individual stories. Working alongside B-Change and UNDP on this important event, reaffirmed Love Frankie's ongoing commitment and enthusiasm to support this important social dialogue and movement.”