Southeast Asia Queer Cultural Festival 2021: "Be/Longings" is a virtual festival that reclaims, reimagines, and insists on LGBTIQ belonging in the region. It features 30+ works, performances and events by 40+ queer activists and artists from all over Southeast Asia that can be experienced in various online platforms.
SEAQCF is being organized by ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (ASC), a network of human rights activists from Southeast Asia. The ASC works for the inclusion of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) in the mandate of human rights duty bearers in the ASEAN region. The ASC works for the promotion and protection of the human rights of all persons regardless of SOGIESC in the Southeast Asian region.
ASC is legally registered as a non-stock and non-profit organization in the Philippines under the name Southeast Asia Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression Caucus (ASC), Inc.
The festival is supported by Voice, an innovative grant facility to support rightsholders and groups facing marginalisation or discrimination in their efforts to exert influence in accessing productive and social services and political participation. Voice is an initiative of and financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands as part of their overall policy framework 'Dialogue and Dissent' (future Power of Voices) and is executed by a consortium between Oxfam Novib and Hivos.
The festival theme, 'Be/Longings', is a play on the words, "being", "longings", and "belonging". "Being" represents the full complexity and diversity of our identities as LGBTIQ people living in Southeast Asia. "Longing", which translates to kerinduan in Bahasa Indonesia or Bahasa Melayu, and pangungulila in Filipino, represents our yearnings and dreams for a region that is genuinely caring, inclusive, and respectful of diversity. "Belonging" asserts that LGBTIQ people have always been part of the collective memories of the Southeast Asian community -- way before the creation of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its member States.
This festival is a collective effort among LGBTIQ people in the region to challenge our exclusion, invisiblization, and persecution by governments and other institutions, and to reimagine an inclusive Southeast Asian community.
SEAQCF is envisioned to be a virtual platform that celebrates LGBTIQ inclusion in Southeast Asia. Advocates, artists and cultural workers will come together to share cultural works that reclaim, reimagine, and insist on LGBTIQ belonging in the region, and to build stronger bonds of regional community.
We seek to cultivate the collective memory of Southeast Asian LGBTIQ persons. This term refers to the cultural narratives of the community that are centred around shared identities and their relationship to both an imagined common past and a vision of a common future. It is not a static record of history, but an evolving consciousness, constantly morphing as it is performed, narrated and interpreted in contemporary situations.
The festival also functions as a political space to foster alternative regionalism. This refers to a collaborative process of holding accountable regional institutions (e.g. ASEAN) through people-oriented approaches within and outside State territories and functions. It involves strengthening the political leverage of transnational civil society and social movements to counter hegemonic regional governance arrangements that exclude marginalized groups. Activities may include learning programs based on grassroots needs, developing new paradigms for regional engagement, and building solidarity among civil society groups across boundaries.
In the context of this project, we aim to bring together both historical and contemporary narratives of LGBTIQ inclusion derived from experiences in different Southeast Asian countries, and collaboratively weave and shape a transformative discourse: a collective memory of an inclusive Southeast Asia.