7 Asian LGBT advocates to know this AAPI Heritage Month

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this May, GLAAD celebrates the works of seven LGBT advocates that has worked tirelessly to accelerate acceptance in America. A celebration that began in 1977, the commemorative month recognizes significant contributions made by AAPI people and includes community festivals, government-sponsored activities, and educational events for students. LGBT-specific events include the National Queer and Asian Conference, which began in 2007.

Kim Coco Iwamoto is a Japanese-American commissioner who became the highest ranked transgender official in the U.S when she won a seat on the Hawaii's Board of Education in 2006. Since then, she has worked with LGBTQ youth as both a licensed therapised and a foster parent, campaigned against anti-LGBT legislation such as Prop 8, and raised funds for the education system in Hawaii.

B.D. Wong is a celebrated Chinese-American actor, known for his roles on Law & Order and Jurassic Park. He received GLAAD'S Davidson/Valenti Award in 2003 and the Family Pride Coalition's Family Tree award in 2005. He continues his work as an LGBT advocate by raising funds and working with a number of charities, such as Ali Forney Center, Materials for the Arts, and Rosie's Theater Kids.

Geraldine Roman is the first Filipino trans woman to be elected into the Philippine Congress. She will be the sixth trans congress legislator worldwide and the second in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition to continuing her work to repeal the 2001 ban that makes it nearly impossible for trans people to change their names and gender markers, Geraldine aims to widen her political scope through helping the poor by awarding scholarships nationwide. She sees that part of her legislative work is to push for anti-discrimination laws that ensure equality.

An out gay newcaster and notable journalist, John Yang is an American Peabody award-winning television news correspondent. He currently works for PBS and was formerly an ABC and NBC commentator. He is most well known for covering the George W. Bush presidential campaign in 2000 and won awards for his coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In 2007, he was named NBC's White House correspondent and he covered the 2008 presidential race for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.

Amazin LeThi is an HIV advocate, producer, director and a Global Ambassador: Athlete Ally & Vietnam Relief Services. She is also the founder for the Amazin LeThi Foundation, which serves homeless LGBT youth and children living with HIV. She is the first internationally published Vietnamese health and fitness author. She is currently working with Vietnam Relief Services to raise funds for youth at the Tân Xuân Township Primary School in Vân Hồ district, Sơn La Province.

Cecilia Chung is a civil rights leader and activist for LGBT rights. Born in Hong Kong, she moved to San Francisco where she was the first Asian transgender woman to be elected to lead the San Francisco LGBT Pride celebration's Board of Directors, as well as the first person living openly with HIV to chair the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. In 2013, she made headlines by making San Francisco the first city in the country to pay for gender reassignment surgery for uninsured transgender patients.

Margaret Cho is an American comedian, actress, fashion designer and author. She is known for critiquing social and political problems through her standup routines. As an out bisexual celebrity, she routinely speaks about her experience as a bisexual woman in articles and was recently featured on the Bi-Cast, a podcast for the bisexual community. She has won awards such as the GLAAD Media Golden Gate Award for her work and she is currently promoting her new album, American Myth, and cohosting Fashion Police on the E! network.

7 Asian LGBT advocates to know this AAPI Heritage Month | Page 2 | GLAAD

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