Recap: Jan 31st LGBTQ Immigration Event

Hello friends,

Did you make it to our 3rd LGBTQ Immigrant Rights Community Forum on January 31st? We held it at the William Way Center and over 80+ attended. We were moved by narrative stories of LGBTQ newcomers to Philadelphia. Conversations were layered and we debated things like how we might want something now, but we might not want it long term. We also ate food, hung out with new friends and laughed a bit. As one participant Matthew wrote, “…we need to shift away from being on the defensive about e-verify. We need to make commitments that makes a municipality the most welcoming so people can do their best and work and care about what they are doing instead of being scared.” Another friend Erika wrote a message to LGBTQ newcomers, “You can find a home here. You can make your own version of family.” ❤
Below are some pictures, enjoy!

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Leveraging Power and Building Community for LGBTQ Immigration

hotpot holiday party Dec 2012-12

Join us in ten days for Leveraging Power and Building Community around LGBTQ Immigration Event on January 31st at 6:30pm at William Way LGBT Community Center. 

We have confirmed our wonderful speakers and here they are:

-Ben de Guzman from the National Queer Asian and Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
-Elizabeth Yaeger from HIAS
-Fernanda Marroquin from Dream Activists PA (DAPA)
-Sasha Wijeratne from hotpot!
-Minh Nguyen from BPSOS who will be our activity facilitator.

Immigration reform is set as a hot topic nationally this year and we’re set to leverage our power. Come listen to our communities stories and engage with multiple communities. Building off our past two LGBTQ immigration forums we’re switching it up for 2013. Rather than the traditional ‘front of the room’ format, our panelists will be among all of us and we’ll be in discussion groups so everyone can participate. Refreshments will be served. If you or your organizations have resource materials, please bring them as we will have a few tables reserved for them.Check out our facebook event page too (add link here

Please email hotpotphilly (at)gmail (dot) com to RSVP and contact us with any questions.

In solidarity,
Alison, Laurent, and the hotpot! sc

Location Details:
William Way Community Center, Ballroom
1315 Spruce Street  Philadelphia, PA 19107

William Way is accessible from the 13th St Market Frankford Line, the 21 or 42 bus.
There is on-street metered parking and several parking garages in the area.
The Ballroom is accessible via stairs as well as an elevator.

About hotpot!: We are a Philadelphia-based gathering working to build community for Queer Asian + Pacific Islander lesbian, bisexual women, trans*, gender variant/queer/non-conforming identified folks through social gatherings, political action and good food. We are fiscally sponsored by ASIAC. This work is supported by the Asian Mosaic Fund.

Reflections of Deen’s “Draw the Circle”

I experienced Deen’s “Draw the Circle” on April 5th, and thought it was so electrifying that I had to experience it on April 8th also. I come away with many thoughts, three of them follow:

1. I think that art is not merely the show on the stage. After seeing the same theatrical piece on two different nights with two different audiences, I am sure that the ways in which the actor on the stage interacts (consciously or subconsciously) with the varying audiences in the house, and vice-versa audience with actor, changes the art itself. The art occurs on both sides of the open curtain. Performance art can never be the exact same art twice. When I consider 1.the differences among who my co-audience members were, concurrent thoughts and feelings, 3.the locations of my seats in the theater, and even 4.that at the 2nd show I was already anticipating Deen’s lines, I did indeed experience two different pieces of art. 

2. There are relationships among race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality that is undeniable to me and a couple of other folks who believe in intersections of identity.  This is the basis of much of my adolescent and adult periods. No fancy surgeons or psychotherapists can take that away.

3. There is an incredible art in which a person can look at a parent-child relationship from a 30-something year span, and trim it down to a 2 minute anecdote in which the character Father says to himself, “I think I will buy this [men’s] polo shirt for Deen [who used to be my daughter].”


LGBTQ Immigration Listening Forum May 2012

Click here to see more photos!

This year, with the support of the Asian Mosaic Fund, hotpot! is hosting two LGBTQ Immigration Listening Forums. One of which has already happened last week and another in the fall. The work to organize our May forum was hard but rewarding. We had been working on it for about 4 months and I’m very happy of how the forum turned out to be. Check out the link to our program book below.

The fact is, this year’s Listening Forum hold a special meaning for me. I was a speaker at the first Listening Forum on May 2010, chosen to be there because I was a newly granted queer asylee.  I have come full circle now that I am part of hotpot! Steering Committee organizing the second Listening Forum and continuing to educate myself on political movements around queer immigration.

I learned during the forum that the issue around LGBTQ immigration affected different people from different backgrounds and ethnicity. I’m glad that I was able to be there to listen to all of the awesome speakers. I was also impressed by the number of people who came.

To all who came to support us, the speakers, the planning organizations, our sponsors and everyone else I might forgot to name: Thank you very much!

Mia Mingus talk at UPenn

On March 27th, 2012 at U Penn, Mia Mingus spoke on her intersecting identities and work in social justice. After Mia spoke, hotpot! was invited by the United Minorities Council to have dinner with Mia.

There are two ideas/themes that I took away from the event.

“social equity VS social justice”

For years I had advocated and fought for “equal rights” as a woman, person of color and lesbian. So when Mia was speaking and introduced this idea, I was blown away. The idea that maybe social equality is not what we should aim for, but instead aim for justice. The idea that instead of gaining equal access to a system that isn’t working, breaking it down and starting new.

“so much of our work begins in our own communities…”

As soon as the words left Mia’s mouth, I immediately thought of various conversations centering around the intersections of my identities with my loved ones. My communities. I thought of family members and friends using the word “gay” in a negative and not understanding why I was offended. I thought about the fact that for years I was terrified to come out to the Filipino community I grew up with. I remembered one of my straight best friends not understanding why I was scared to go to a predominantly white, straight bar because I feared for my safety as a butch lesbian of color. I find it so easy to walk away or argue with strangers but I can’t do that with my communities. I am glad that Mia addressed this reality.

Queer Shame: A conversation about identity with Deen, the playwright/performer of Draw the Circle

When: Monday, April 2, 7pm

Where: William Way Community Center, 1315 Spruce St., Phila, PA

Price: Free and Open to the Public

RSVP: William Way Community Center, 215-732-2220,

Bring your open heart and a willingness to participate in this unique conversation about the liminal spaces we live in, and live from. The evening will begin with an exploration of our own personal histories and struggles to deal with being told that we must be less than we are. We’ll hear from Deen about the ways in which he was exiled from his Indian family and friends when he came out as queer, and then was challenged in the LGBT community after he came out as transgender. He will speak about his experience in the Radical Faerie community and we’ll conclude the night by sharing the ways we have been limited by other people’s expectations, and we will strive to break those boxes, to feel our loveliness, our beauty, our strength together in community.  Deen is the playwright/performer of Draw the Circle, directed by Chay Yew, which will have its world premiere at InterAct Theatre from April 4-8 (William Way outing: Sunday, April 8, 2pm).  A first-generation South Asian American playwright and performer, Deen is a member of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group and his first full-length play, Shut-Up!, won the Dennis Johnston Playwriting Prize and the James Baldwin Award.