By Anastasia Junelle on 30 June, 2022
Pride Month may be coming to a close, but these 5 Southeast Asian LGBTQIA+ activists work all year around, even in places where it is dangerous to do so. Whether it’s through fashion, NGOs, or simply sharing their experiences, these individuals shine a spotlight on the issues the LGBTQIA+ community faces, both in Southeast Asia and around the world.
A professional photographer by day and a drag performer by night, Kumela Kumslut believes that drag is designed to uplift people and put a smile on their faces. As a “vivacious sex-positive siren”, her intention is to educate people about practicing safe sex. Heavily involved in the queer community, she has hostsed events, such as Rainbow Rojak, and uses her platform to start open conversations about the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS. She is known to provide free screening or free condom giveaways during her parties..
Pataradanai “Koen” Setsuwan
Pataradanai Setsuwan, who goes by the name Koen Danai, focuses on normalizing gender fluidity through fashion. Previously a singer in the boy band K-OTIC, they have garnered an overwhelming amount of support from the LGBTQIA+ community in Thailand. Koen has actively urged the public against assigning gender to fashion. Koen uses their social media platforms to positively fuel discussion on the idea of not conforming to society’s construction of what we have to wear. Plus, Koen’s fashion might just give you some inspiration for OOTD ideas!
From the beauty pageants of Manila to the runways of New York, Geena Rocero has steadily risen to fame through modeling for fashion and beauty companies. She is also the co-founder of Gender Proud, a media production company that provides a safe platform for the transgender community worldwide while also sharing their personal stories. She famously gave a TED talk called “Why I must come out” in which she talks about her gender identity, which was a secret to most people in her industry. Inspired by her personal journey, her digital series “Beautiful As I Want To Be” spotlights transgender youth.
30-year-old model, entrepreneur, and newly turned beauty queen Andrea Razali represented Singapore in Miss International Queen - the world’s largest transgender beauty pageant. Razali has also appeared as an interview guest in Pink Dot, an annual event in Singapore to show support towards LGBTQIA+ rights. As a strong advocate, she dreams of a society in which the transgender community is accepted in Singapore with open arms and equal rights.
Dustin Phuc Nguyen
It’s been 3 years since Vietnamese internet sensation Dustin Phuc Nguyen launched his blind dating series, “Love is Blind,” on his Youtube Channel. Love is Blind has garnered attention due to its incorporation of heartwarming analogies from the LGBTQIA+ community. Nguyen has actively worked with Prudential to share his coming out story and has pushed the expansion of HIV testing in the country.
Anastasia is Dia's intern and a Computer Animation student at the Ringling College of Art and Design, Florida. She has previously interned in graphic design while working full-time as an administrative assistant on campus. Her interests include 3D modeling, reading YA fantasy books, watching romcoms, and storytelling through art.