Did you know that QAPA is the oldest co-gender LGBTQI Asian and Pacific Islander (API) organization in the United States? I didn't - until I read it on our website while at the NQAPIA Summit yesterday. And neither did most of our fellow LGBTQI Asian groups; in fact, most people had never even heard of QAPA. That QAPA began in 1979 (under the name BAGML, Boston Asian Gay Men and Lesbians and later renamed AMALGM, Alliance of Massachusetts Asian Lesbians and Gay Men) is historic and symbolic. The gay movement was still young, and the Asian community was largely absent from it. Today, there are 42 LGBTQI Asian organizations, with NQAPIA (National Queer Asian and Pacific Islander Alliance) as the umbrella foundation. I think QAPA and the brave men and women who founded it galvanized the LGBTQI API movement even if it wasn't a political organization, and I want QAPA to continue to inspire us and our allies, whether they be LGBTQI, Asian, straight, LGBTQI and Asian, straight and Asian or non-Asian and straight. We don't have to just focus on politics or social justice issues; providing a social and supportive environment for LGBTQI API's in Boston sends a message that we exist, and it's okay. Okay, so I'm still on a high from the energy and inspiration from the past 3 days, but what I'm saying is sincere. I truly believe in QAPA and I want all of our members and steering committee to believe in it as well. I feel honored to be a part of this group, the first co-gender LGBTQI Asian organization in the U.S., honored that you, our members, are a part of it as well. I don't intend to speak for the entire organization or the steering committee, nor would I want you to view my post as my "soap box" moment; rather, I want this message to serve as a reminder of the significance of QAPA, of what QAPA meant to its leaders and community at its inception so that we continue to sustain and celebrate its relevance and importance.
If there was only one thing I took away from the NQAPIA Summit, it's that we (the LGBTQI Asian community) are severely underrepresented and underfunded, but we have the power and resources to change that. If a few gay men and women in 1979 can create change, we in 2010 can as well. So, let's get our QAPA on!