ILGA Asia Regional Conference
is the highest level decision making body of ILGA Asia, taking place every other year, alternating with the ILGA World Conference. One of the main aims of establishing a regional board is to create opportunities for activists in Asia to network, pool their resources and benefit from the experiences of others who face the same challenges in their own countries.
In the past, there were numerous attempts to organize Asia regional ILGA events. Some of the first were the three small regional meetings organized by Teishiro Minami from Japan after he had attended the ILGA World Conference in Stockholm. The Asian Lesbian Network was formed in 1986 at the International Lesbian Information Service conference in Geneva. It went on to hold four conferences in Asia - Bangkok in 1991, Japan in 1993, Taiwan in 1995 and Manila in 1998.
The first ILGA Asia Regional Conference was held in Mumbai in 2002, attended by 80 individuals.
However, tensions among participants resulted in highly acrimonious disputes and boycott of the 2002 Mumbai conference by half of the local organizations in India.
In 2004, the female co-secretary of ILGA World at the time, Anna Leah Sarabia from the Philippines, organized a small ILGA Asia Regional Conference in Cebu, during which Myo Min (from Myanmar, based in Thailand) and Myra Ofreneo (the Philippines) were chosen as the Asian representatives to the ILGA World board.
The next ILGA Asia Regional Conference was organized in Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2008 by Myo Min and Myra Ofreneo, with the support from two gay-run HIV/AIDS organizations, M-Plus based in Chiang Mai and Rainbow Sky Association from Bangkok. A hundred and twenty delegates attended the conference and for the first time, elected a board. They decided to establish an office in Hong Kong.
The 2010 ILGA Asia Regional Conference in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, was cancelled after delegates were already in the city, in the face of threats from the Islamic Defenders Front and other opponents. As the result, there was no election held that year.
Phoenix Rising - The Reemergence of ILGA Asia
The next ILGA Asia Regional Conference was organized by M-Plus and Rainbow Sky Association Thailand in Bangkok from 29-31 March 2013. The theme “Phoenix Rising” symbolized the revival of ILGA Asia after the Surabaya incident. A new board was elected. Delegates came from 22 countries with 25 new faces from Myanmar. The first ILGA Asia office was established in Hong Kong in 2014, with the support from Chinese Lala Alliance, and a full time coordinator was recruited.
In 2015, the 6th ILGA Asia Regional Conference was held in Taipei from 28- 31 November, where 6 new members were elected to the regional board, representing East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia. For the first time there was an intersex person in the board. There was no candidate from West Asia. At the conference, CamASEAN bid to organize the next ILGA Asia conference in Cambodia in 2017 in collaboration with Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK). By the beginning of 2017, CamASEAN withdrew and upon consultation with ILGA Asia Executive Board, RoCK became the host of the conference.
The 7th ILGA Asia Regional Conference took place from 4-8 December 2018. ILGA Asia and RoCK welcomed 281 participants coming from 62 organizations in 35 countries, most of which were in Asia. There were 41 member organizations present. The conference elected a new Executive Board comprising of 10 members, 5 of whom were re-elected from the previous board. The previously vacant positions were filled during this election: 1 trans representative, 1 intersex representative and 2 West Asian representatives.