Introduction to LGBTQ organizations in Asia
Cristina Pedler: Hello, everyone. Thanks for tuning in to Asia media review brought to you by Asia media international publication from Loyola Marymount University. Today during our very first intro episode, we’re going to tell you what we’re all about here at AMI.
Liam Rogers: But first, some introductions. My name is Liam Rogers. I’m a senior international relations and French student from LMU. Originally, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, but now I’m living in Los Angeles, California. This is my second year with AMI.
Cristina Pedler: And I’m Cristina Pedler, also a senior international relations major at LMU. Born and raised in sunny San Diego, California. I’ve been a writer and podcaster for AMI since spring 2021.
Liam Rogers: We should probably tell these folks wait Asia media is before we get into our content.
Cristina Pedler: Yeah, good point. Asia media international is a student-driven publication from Loyola Marymount University’s Asia Pacific Media Center in Los Angeles. It serves as a real-world media lab for Professor Tom Plate’s students to develop coherent and persuasive writing abilities for public consumption.
Liam Rogers: The publication is supported under the governing College of Liberal Arts, Department of Asian and Asian American Studies in the Department of Political Science. It was founded in 2011 by Tom Plate, LMU’s distinguished scholar of Asia and Pacific studies. Asian Media is allied with the Pacific century Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles that focuses on building bridges between countries and people.
Cristina Pedler: We are super excited to propel AMI into the world of podcasting as an additional source of information. Let us tell you why. As the world center of gravity is inevitably shifting to the East, Asia Media International seeks to place its spotlight on the media of Asia as a method of focusing on trends within society and politics.
Liam Rogers: That’s right. As the world becomes increasingly globalized understanding of an inquiry towards Asia and the Pacific region is necessary to grasp the world that we live in today. Asian societies comprise a significant portion of the world’s population.
Cristina Pedler: Yeah, pretty significant. the Asia Pacific region is home to 4.3 billion people, or two thirds of the world’s population, according to the UN. Three of the four most populated countries in the world are in Asia, China, India, and Indonesia. The region covered in our publication has a geographical scope that stretches from Saudi Arabia and the west to the Pacific Island nation of Tonga in the east, and from the Russian Federation in the north, to New Zealand in the south.
Liam Rogers: It’s a big stretch of land and sea, covering a lot of people, places and cultures. Asia Media International’s mission is to examine Asian countries through the lens of their distinct media networks. Joined by a philosophy of education, the website highlights the voices, interests and backgrounds of people that other traditional sources of media don’t usually highlight.
Cristina Pedler: A greater understanding of Asia is increasingly relevant to holistic education for any person anywhere. The content on Asian Media intersects both academic studies and personal experience. In our podcast series, discussions will involve the construction of traditions, issues of identity, and the historical, cultural and political antecedents to our current events that we see every day. Regardless of topic, ranging from politics to diplomacy, business and journalism, human rights, or literature and art, learning about Asia is necessary to emerge as a global citizen in the 21st century.
Liam Rogers: So, essentially, AMI allows us to put our finger on the pulse of Asia America relations
Cristina Pedler: Exactly.
Liam Rogers: Again, a little less formally now, Christina and I are going to discuss why we are getting into this. We’re going to specifically be doing a podcast on LGBTQ human rights in Asia, the advancements of the countries, the organizations within the countries that are doing work to benefit the communities, as well as just generally the state of LGBTQ in Asia.
Cristina Pedler: Right, because the LGBTQ community has seen some progress over the years it has, but there’s still a lot left to achieve as states and countries continue to push restrictive legislation that hurts an entire group and as to queer stigma. That’s why these human rights groups are so important, pushing an agenda of equality, fairness, inclusion for people all over the world, especially in Asia, which is the world’s second most restrictive region of LGBTQ expression.
Liam Rogers: Yeah, and even at that, one of the countries in Asia, Brunei, they were one of the most recent countries to enforce the death penalty or allow the death penalty to come into play on just the premise of someone having homosexuality. And if you compare things like that in Brunei, to what we’re seeing in the US, I mean, the United States has legalized gay marriage, we’ve pushed for adoption policies. But we still have a lot of work left to do.
Cristina Pedler: I think the mission of what our podcast series intends to be is threefold. One, we want to provide awareness to the different organizations serving the Asian and Pacific region for LGBTQ+ members. The second is to amplify the voice and extend the reach of the organizations that we interview so that people that may or may not have heard about them, or maybe want to support them financially can do so.
Liam Rogers: Yeah, honestly, like thinking about it, like before doing any research about this increasingly, did you know about any organizations in Asia that were working to advance LGBTQ?
Cristina Pedler: I really didn’t. I mean, there’s a few like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International. But those are big names, and mostly founded in the West.
Liam Rogers: Exactly. Like what is going on in Asia? Like, how are they doing to help themselves like Taiwan really pushed through in the last few years, and like they are really leading Asia, when a LGBTQ rights?
Cristina Pedler: Yeah and who knows about that over here, I my guess is not very many people. And that’s what our aim of this podcast is to do is to raise awareness, amplify voices. And the third prong of it, is to create a space where we can build off of each other can help create a network for these organizations to even know that each other exists, and how they work, what they’re working towards, what their goals are, and how they can possibly partner or use each other’s influence as leverage against these systems that are pushing back against LGBTQ rights.
Liam Rogers: Amnesty International recognizes 76 countries in the world that criminalize homosexuality, and out of the 76 countries 10 have laws that could allow them to enforce corporal punishment. As we were privy enough to discuss this topic without fear of retribution from our government, or other governments, it is crucial for us to bring to light the unjust discriminations in various countries that worked at on-ground organizations are doing to advance the fight for equality and the progression that countries are making.
Cristina Pedler: And at least 69 countries in the world still criminalize same sex relations. That’s quite a bit.
Liam Rogers: It’s quite a bit. So even as we’re saying this, the United States has placed progressive policies have allowed LGBTQ members more rights, more equality within their country. In the last year, even homosexuals serving openly in military become legal in the United States starting on January 25. So it’s not saying that the United States is a leader in LGBTQ, but we are definitely in a position that allows us to openly and freely speak about it without fearing the=at our government would punish us in any way.
Cristina Pedler: And it allows us as people in the US and of global citizens, to use our privilege of being in a country that is a bit more progressive for LGBTQ rights. And seeing the steps made to establish equality and equity for individuals allows us to kind of understand the processes needed to take place in countries that have yet to establish protections and security for LGBTQ individuals.
Cristina Pedler: Something that I think we need to recognize as American citizens is that the rest of the world is not like us, and we are not like the rest of the world. Each country holds a different ideological, philosophical, religious and cultural perspective. When we review something that is going on in the eastern hemisphere, we first and foremost determine how that would play out or be viewed in our society.
Liam Rogers: Like we’ve said, we’re looking at Asia, like have, I’ve always thought about this, that Eastern versus a Western philosophical understanding of the world or cultural differences, religious differences, just differences in general, it’s not saying that we are different in something that should be like looked down upon, apparently we have the issue with the United States. But it’s definitely something that we all should be aware of.
Cristina Pedler: Liam, could you tell me a little bit about the difference between Eastern and Western ideologies?
Liam Rogers: Okay, I’m by far not an expert in this region, by far, maybe we can at some point in the future bring in someone that is, but from what I understand is that the western philosophical side of things has placed us in basically what Plato would ask is just versus unjust. And what we define as justice and what we find is injustice. So looking at that, we are now seeing that discrimination on the level of LBGTQ is an unjust, unfair action. If it was the other way around, it would have been unjust to the straight people then. So that’s how we would see in a Western philosophical understanding from my perspective. Over Eastern philosophy, looking back at Taoism, Daoism, all the religions, they really have this, like Confucianism, they have this philosophical basis to them. Like they have a different understanding of the world. So if we’re imposing ourselves onto them with their Western philosophy, are they really going to be willing or reciprocating our understanding of what’s going on?
Cristina Pedler: I think that’s why it’s so important to highlight other organizations in Asia that are working towards progress for LGBTQ individuals, because they have more of an understanding a common understanding of that Eastern philosophy that can be applied more easily more readily to other countries in the Asia Pacific region, to make progress towards …
Liam Rogers: I think we should just leave that progress. To make progress.
Cristina Pedler: Okay. Yes.
Cristina Pedler: So after years of being college students, Liam and I have seen lots of rubrics and grading scales. So we came up with our own to assess the NGOs, meaning the non-governmental organizations that we interview. We split it up into percentage points, accessibility, transparency, and the work each account for 30%. The remaining 10% account for the interview that we conduct with them and turn into a podcast episode. Liam, tell us about the accessibility part.
Liam Rogers: Communication, website, and social media are three main categories. In communication, we’re putting out inquiries to these organizations. And so we want to see if they are responding to us, if they have the ability to give us information that we’re looking for, or if it’s just a dead end. And so that’s key information for anyone’s organization. For the website, we’re looking just genuinely like it doesn’t have to be professionally done website, it just needs to be something that we ourselves are able to access and that is user friendly. Yeah. If we can’t do it, like, how is someone else going to do it? If it would someone in the United States, if someone in the rest of the world is trying to donate? Where are they going to do it? How are they going to do? The websites the key, the foundation, to the modern age of like anything at this point,
Cristina Pedler: And with that comes contact methods like addresses, phone, numbers, emails, things like that.
Liam Rogers: So the last part, social media, social media is what, at least to our generation, we’re both Gen Z, regrettably, and like, I think I kind of look at myself more of a millennial, but we use social media to see what’s going on in their world. So with these organizations, there are some prime examples which we’ll see throughout the duration of our podcasts that have a grand social media presence, showing them doing work on the field sewing this, that or the other, just allowing members of the community to access and incorporate themselves into this LGBT or any other organization.
Cristina Pedler: Our second half is transparency. So each of the 10% goes to the money, social view and politics. With the money part, we want to see that the organization clearly states where they’re getting their finances from and what they’re doing with those finances. The social view kind of incorporates that the organization clearly states the views that they hold, and it’s clear what they’re working for and working towards. And finally, politics, we want to see that there’s, if there is any political alignment that would affect their work. And that would sway the direction that they are going.
Liam Rogers: The last 30% category is the work, we’re simply looking at past current and future work that these organizations have done. If they were established organization, we should be able to see the work that they’ve done. And if it’s been helping the people, the community that they set out to help, we want to also see for the current work, or other projects going on, if these projects are going on, what are they doing currently to benefit the community? The last section, future work: Are these organizations looking to the future to progress what they’re fighting against? Are they looking to do different projects.
Cristina Pedler: Like seminars or fundraisers, even research into what’s happening in their communities and in their country.
Liam Rogers: For our last part, the interview, so the interview, this is actually going to be our hardest section, if I’m being honest, and is worth the least amount of points out of all the rest of them. It’s the hardest for us because there are some countries in Asia that are very, very protective against a having Western intervention. In a recent conversation I’ve had, I’ve understood that some Chinese organizations who’ve had any contact with Western organizations were shut down solely for that fact, because they’re saying that there’s Western influences behind it. So when we are doing interviews, we have to take into account if they’re able to interview and if they are able to interview, are they first willing to interview with us? Second, is the person interviewing with us someone that knows about the organization, someone that knows about the issues that are going on in the country? And then the last part is, are they informed enough to tell us how future people – hopefully our listeners – are able to donate to the organization to help fight against the oppressive governments or institutions or regimes, whatever, it has the overarching power in the region.
Cristina Pedler: So that’s our rubric. And we’re gonna try it out for the first time next week when we interview Blue Diamond society. Blue Diamond society was established in 2001 to advocate for change in the existing laws against homosexuality, and to advocate for the rights of Nepal’s marginalized, gay, transgender and other sexual minority communities. Its headquarters are in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Liam Rogers: If you are curious about how we will be creating in the rubric, we will post the full rubric with everything that we will see on our website. So please check us out at Asiamedia.lmu.edu
Cristina Pedler: Thanks again for tuning into our very first episode of Asian media review. This has been your host Cristina Pedler, and Liam Rogers signing off. See you next time.
Rubrics for the review guidelines