World’s First Asia Pacific Transgender Network Launched to Champion Health and Rights of Transgender Women

Crossposted from ILGHRC website

Members of Asia Pacific Transgender Network. Bangladesh representative Zahida is first on the right (back row)

Diverse groups from warias, kathoeys and hijras to be represented

IGLHRC believes that a vital part of our mission is supporting the work of activist organizations and allies by disseminating important information on human rights issues affecting LGBT communities worldwide. To this end we are reposting the following announcement from one of our partners.

For Immediate Release


Ms. Sitthiphan (Hua) Boonyapisomparn
APTN Coordinator
HP: +6626120365

Ms. Leona Lo
Founding Working Group member, APTN
HP: +6597236075

(December 23, 2009, Bangkok, Thailand) Transgender women from 10 Asia Pacific countries and areas are coming together to say “No!” to discrimination and marginalisation by forming the world’s first Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN). After three days of intense meetings, it was decided that the APTN, composed entirely of transgender women across the region, will champion transgender women’s health, legal and social rights.

Ms. Khartini Slamah, Founding Working Group member and Core-Group Chair of the Transgender Programme in Pink Triangle (PT) Foundation, Malaysia, says this represents a milestone in the history of transgender women in the region. She says, “For a long time transgender women have been represented among the MSM (men who have sex with men) sub-population group, but there is now a recognition that we are a distinct demographic with our own unique needs. We wish to be separated from the MSM umbrella and inform The United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) to stop clustering us under the MSM umbrella. Transgender women are not men – we have different issues and needs. Thus we have formed a network addressing the needs of transgender women only.”

From hijras in South Asia to warias in Indonesia

The group represents a broad spectrum of transgender women from sex workers to career women, from hijras (South Asia), warias (Indonesia), kathoeys (Thailand) and sao praphet songs (Thailand) to specialised interest groups such as youth, Muslims and elderly transgender women. Ms Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, another Founding Working Group member and one of the most recognisable faces of hijras in India, says she is pleased the community is being represented by the network. She says, “For the first time in history, hijras from Nepal, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are joining hands with our transgender sisters from Asia Pacific to say ‘No!’ to being treated like second-class citizens. We know there is strength in numbers. Together, we can advance and improve the health, legal and social rights of transgender women.”

The network will also tackle issues in the region such as HIV prevalence among transgender sex workers, especially in countries such as Indonesia and Cambodia, where infection rates are extremely high and resources in place are inadequate to ensure access to quality healthcare, as well as to protect the rights of the sex workers.

Outreach activities

The network is developing a workplan for the next two to three years. The Working Group will identify and explore key populations/groups in immediate need of support and plan activities to reach out to these target groups. Transgender representatives have also been appointed from every sub-region and from key sub-populations to rally transgender organisations within their respective sub-regions or areas to become members of the network. Ms. Sitthiphan (Hua) Boonyapisomparn, APTN Coordinator who is based in Bangkok, says, “At this stage, it is important that we develop a comprehensive workplan that addresses the needs of APTN members. We are already in discussion with potential donors and sponsors to explore how they might support APTN programmes.”

For more information about the network or to support its programmes, please contact Ms. Sitthiphan at or HP: +6626120365.

Note to Editors

The APTN is categorised according to seven sub-regions and seven key populations. Each group is represented as follows:

  • Danisha (Malaysia) for transgender drug users
  • Jetsada Taesombat (Thailand) for transgender youth
  • Jin Qiu (China) for China Sub-Region
  • Khartini Slamah (Malaysia) for senior transgender women
  • Laxmi Narayan Iripathi (India) for India Sub-region
  • Leona Lo (Singapore) for Developed Asia Sub-region
  • Luluk Surahman (Indonesia) for Insular Southeast Asia Sub-region
  • Manisha (Nepal) for South Asia Sub-region
  • Prempreeda Pramos Na Ayutthaya (Thailand) for the Greater Mekong Sub-region
  • Sam Sela (Cambodia) for transgender people living with HIV
  • Sulastri (Malaysia) for transgender sex workers
  • Zahida Hijra (Bangladesh) for hijras
  • Vacant – for transgender Muslims
  • Vacant – for Pacific Sub-region

About APTN

The mission of APTN is to enable transgender women in the Asia Pacific region to organise and advocate to improve their health, protect their human rights, and enhance their social well-being and the quality of their lives. The network startup is supported by the 7 Sisters Coalition of Asia Pacific Regional Networks on HIV/AIDS, Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM), and Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW)

Media Enquiries

Ms. Sitthiphan (Hua) Boonyapisomparn
APTN Coordinator
HP: +6626120365

Ms. Leona Lo
Founding Working Group member, APTN
HP: +6597236075



Filed under Uncategorized

3 responses to “World’s First Asia Pacific Transgender Network Launched to Champion Health and Rights of Transgender Women

  1. I myself need all the support to come out and fully live as a woman

  2. Charles Mamatta

    I am a transgendar myself and it so good to see,
    acceptance in other countries.

    I belive in respact and equality for all, regardless,
    gendar, sex, race or whatever, we are all the same.

    Pls, reply
    Charles aka Jonellar

  3. We are all human beings and as such we deserve to be treated

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