hotpot! Philly presents hotbowl!

Please join us……

hotpot! is about to celebrate our two year anniversary. As we move towards our organizational birthday. We need your support to grow smarter and stronger. In order to continue our mission and visioning process hotpot! is going on an organizational retreat from Sept 30-Oct 2nd. Together, hotpot! members will further define our values and strategize about our priorities for the next year.

By attending our hotbowl! or donating online (through paypal, funds can be sent to you’ll help make this happen. So join us for a fun afternoon. This event welcomes all family and friends of hotpot!

Saturday, September 17, 2011 4-6p
Playdrome Cherry Hill
Tickets are $20 per person
This includes two hours unlimited bowling, shoes, a large pizza per lane and soda.

For those who might need transportation to and from, we can always arrange carpooling options once we have a guest list. Check back for transportation updates.

To purchase tickets, please contact Em Sov at 302-562-0108 or to make payment arrangements through paypal. If you would rather pay cash on the day of, please RSVP by September 9.

I Am film review

On July 9th, seven hotpot!-ers and friends went to see I Am, a documentary film by Sonali Gulati at Philadelphia QFest.

The documentary tells us about her struggle in coming to terms with the fact that she hadn’t come out to her mother as a lesbian before her passing. Compelled by this need, she interviewed other queer Indians and their parents, and asks parents this pressing question, “would it be better if they didn’t know about their children’s sexuality and what are their thoughts about it?”

Another focus of the documentary was the LGBTQ rights movement in India and  the involvement of some of the people she interviewed. Being gay was a criminal and punishable offense until, these activists refused to hide in the shadows and live in fear, instead they spear headed the movement to repeal the portion of  section 377, a law in the Indian’s Penal Code, that outlawed same sex sexual activity. They were victorious in July 2009.

I Am is the director’s journey of getting her questions answered through strong individuals stories, families, and the change within herself and the families when some of the parents did a complete turnaround and truly support their children now.

Les-bi-oke Night Poll

UPDATE: We will have Les-bi-oke Night on August 27th from 6-8pm at New Harmony, a vegetarian family restaurant, located at 135 N. 9th Street (Cherry Street).  The cost will be $15 per person with dinner (a buffet style with 7 items of food). RSVP now to so we can get the room deal!  This is a social event, all hotpot! members, partners, family and friends are welcome to join.

hotpot! is having a karaoke  night in August and we want you all to come out and join us. We’re thinking of Yakitori Boy (open 5pm-2am daily) for location.  Please participate in the poll below as we want to know which date and time is the best for people.

For information of how the room/people and cost is arranged, please click on this link. There is also free room promotion.

According to their website, “Book your private karaoke room during the hours of 5PM-11PM Sunday-Thursday or 5PM-8PM Friday or Saturday and meet or exceed the hourly SPENDING MINIMUM through your food & drink purchases…and we will waive the room charge!”

If you have any question or comment, please drop it in the comment section or email us at

The poll is now closed and the winning vote is…….[drum roll]

Saturday, August 27th 6-8pm!!!

welcome hotpot! newcomers

We’re so glad you’re here. With the Trans Health Conference, the Dyke March, and Pride, hotpot! has been busy welcoming new members. I’m so glad to connect with people and expand our community. At our most recent potluck we had an abundance of warm, open, and energized new folks who brought their questions about hotpot!, not to mention the delicious food.

Check out these additional summer photos.

Border Crossings: Immigration and Transgender Communities

This workshop at the Trans Health Conference was presented by three people, Caitlin, Priyank and Laurent. There were a lot more people than expected attending and we had a great discussion time as well as some stories/resources sharing. Below are the handouts Caitlin shared with everyone at the conference.

Queer and Trans Immigration Resource List

HotPot! Philly

HOTPOT! is a Philadelphia-Area gathering working to build community for Queer Asian and Pacific Islander women, trans, gender variant and gender queer/non-conforming identified folks through social gatherings, political action, and good food.

Southerners on New Ground

SONG is a membership-based, Southern regional organization made up of working class, people of color, immigrants, and rural LGBTQ people.

Sylvia Rivera Law Project

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence.

Queers for Economic Justice

QEJ understands that the LGBT community is not mutually exclusive from immigrant communities. We run an immigrant rights program that is working on a variety of issues which impact LGBT immigrants, their families and communities.

Gender JUST
(Gender Justice United for Societal Transformation) is a multi-racial, multi -ethnic, and multi-generational grassroots organization of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer, and Allied (LGBTQA) young people, LGBTQA people of color, and LGBTQA grassroots folks developing leadership and building power through organizing. Gender JUST believes that comprehensive immigration reform is a critically queer struggle and has been involved in several citywide efforts to stop deportations and immigration raids.

Immigration Equality 

Immigration Equality serves as an information clearinghouse, giving LGBT foreign nationals and their loved ones up-to-date information about immigration law via trainings, informational materials, and by answering email and telephone inquiries, in addition to a pro bono asylum clinic.

New Sanctuary Movement
They are part of the National New Sanctuary movement based in congregations around the United States which are connected to immigrant families who are facing the possibility of separation through deportation. They respond as a hospitable and welcoming community to the immigrant families, and they respond prophetically to the unjust systems that cause their suffering (including unfair trade policies).

Hearts on a Wire
Hearts on a Wire is a Philadelphia-based trans and gender variant prisoner justice collective.  We build community with incarcerated trans and gender variant (T/GV) people across Pennsylvania through networking, letter writing and art.  We are committed to supporting people inside and creating a movement that addresses the root causes of mass imprisonment and policing of our communities – especially trans women and people of color.  We know the safety, health, and wellbeing of our communities depends on prison abolition, gender self-determination, and racial and economic justice – from the welfare office to the workplace.

Brief History of Gender and Sexuality Policing in Immigration Law

1875 Page Law passes Congress, which bars contract laborers, felons and Asian women being brought to the US for “lewd and immoral purposes” from entering the US, effectively barring unmarried Asian women in an attempt to control the Asian population

1882 Act of 1882 banned “convicts, idiots, lunatics,” and those likely to become “public charges” by relying on public benefits

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act bars all Asian immigrants from entering US, with exceptions for students, teachers and merchants, and wives of merchants (but banning wives of laborers)

1882 Contract Labor Law bans all immigrants coming to perform labor, with an exception for family members or personal friends of residents of the US, establishing the first heterosexual family preference system

1891 Immigration Act of 1891 bans public charges, felons, those with “loathsome and contagious diseases,” those convicted of “crimes involving moral turpitude” (which include sodomy and statutory sexual offenses) and polygamists, and introduces concept of deportation

1903 Congress revises Immigration Act to bar prostitutes, managers of prostitution businesses, and anyone trying to bring a woman to the US for purposes of prostitution; medical exam instructions under the Act expanded grounds of exclusion to include pregnancy, syphilis and gonorrhea

1907 Immigration Act of 1907 adds a category for persons who admit committing a crime involving moral turpitude, and creates a ground for deportation for any woman who practices prostitution within three years of entering the US

1910 Mann Act prohibits “importing” women “for immoral purposes” and starts deportation for persons who violate the Act; the Act also continued a ban on interracial marriage domestically

1917 Espionage and Sedition Act creates “Asiatic Barred Zone” which bars persons from India, Burma, Siam, Malay, Arabia, Afghanistan, part of Russia and the Polynesian Islands; added new medical exclusion for “constitutional psychopathic inferiors”, which was defined to include persons with “abnormal sexual instincts”; barred “sexually immoral” women from obtaining legal status through marriage

1921 National Origins Quota Law places cap on the number of admitted immigrants from outside the Western Hemisphere and establishes a tiered preference system based on heterosexual family ties

1925 System of issuing visas is established through US consulates abroad, who check police backgrounds, conduct political interviews and review medical exams with little to no supervision or review

1943 Repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act, but in the following years strict quotas for Asian countries were enforced

1952 McCarran-Walter Act adds gays and lesbians explicitly to the list of Class A medical exclusion category of “psychopathic personality” and subjects them to deportation

1957 Waiver provisions are created that allow close blood-related family members of US citizens to “waive” grounds of exclusion, including prostitution

1962 In Fleuti v. Rosenberg, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals allows a gay man to enter the US and finds that “psychopathic personality” is too vague to include homosexuals

1965 Immigration and Nationality Act places cap on immigration from the Western Hemisphere (making thousands of Mexican immigrants undocumented) and expands slots available to the Eastern Hemisphere; also adds category of “sexual deviation” to grounds of exclusion to overcome Fleuti

1967 In Boutilier v. INS, the Supreme Court upholds the deportation of a gay man

1979 Surgeon General attempts to allow gays and lesbians to enter US after homosexuality is removed from the list of mental illnesses by the APA

1980 INS announces new rule that homosexuals are excluded on that basis alone

1982 In Adams v. Howard 9th Circuit Court of Appeals finds that a marriage between members of the same sex would not provide immediate relative status under the immigration laws

1987 Government begins screening applicants for residence for HIV

1990 Gays and lesbians are formally removed from the list of excluded grounds

1991 Haitian immigrants arrested while trying to cross to Florida by boat are tested for HIV; those who test positive are taken to Guantanamo and placed in detention in the first HIV detention camp until a court ruling eventually orders that they be admitted to the US

1993 Congress passes legislation banning anyone who is HIV positive from entering the US, including immediate relatives and tourists

1994 Janet Reno announces that gays and lesbians should be considered a “particular social group” for purposes of applying for asylum

1995 In Hernandez-Montiel v. Attorney General, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals grants asylum to a “gay man with a female sexual identity”

1996 DOMA officially defines marriage as heterosexual for all federal purposes, including immigration

1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act raises income restrictions for family members seeking to sponsor relatives for immigration status; greatly expands the categories of crimes that will both bar someone from entering and provide a ground for deportation; prohibits anyone who entered by crossing the border without inspection from obtaining a green card in the US; expands the use of mandatory immigration detention and adds a one year deadline for asylum applicants

2000 Congress creates the T visa for victims of human trafficking, which requires applicants to report trafficking crimes and cooperate with the criminal investigation; visa applications may only be certified by ICE

2004 Immigration authorities announce new rule that the government will not recognize a marriage where one or both spouses “claim to be transsexual”

2005 In Matter of Lovo-Lara, the Board of Immigration Appeals holds that as long as the marriage is valid where it took place and is between members of the opposite sex, a marriage will be deemed valid for immigration purposes even if one spouse is transsexual

2005 Congress passes REAL ID, which would require states to standardize the identification requirements for I.D. cards, deny identification to undocumented persons and share the information with a federal database; without an I.D. that meets the requirements, you cannot open a bank account, travel on a plane or receive social security benefits. Many states refuse to participate, and the deadline is extended multiple times into May 2011

2009 The ban on admission for immigrants with HIV is lifted

Many of the entries were adapted from Eithne Luibheid, Entry Denied: Controlling Sexuality at the Border, University of Minnesota Press, 2002.

Queer and Trans Immigration Reading List

Pooja Gehi, “Struggles from the Margins: Anti-Immigrant Legislation and the Impact on Low-Income Transgender People of Color,” 2009 Women’s Rights Law Reporter, Rutgers University.

Dyana Bagby, “LGBT Activists Fight Immigration Bills,” Georgia Voice, March 18, 2011

Paul Canning, “In US, violent, sexual abuse of LGBT refugee detainees draws too little attention,” LGBT Asylum Blog, April 2011 

Yasmin Nair, “What’s Left of Queer? Immigration, Sexuality and Affect in a Neoliberal World,” Spring 2011 

Audre Lorde Project, “For All the Ways They Say We Are, No One Is Illegal,” April 21, 2006 

Malik Ahmed, “A Threat to Queens Pride,” The Scholar and Feminist Online, Summer 2008. 

Karma R. Chavez, “Violence, Intersectionality and the Erasure of Queer Migrants,” Queer Migration Research Network 2010. 

Video, “Andrea Ritchie in Bringing the Revolution Home,” Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program 2011. 

“Our Lives: Queer API Experiences” at the Trans Health Conference

Here is a summary on Van and Tay’s workshop at the THC:

Van and I held a workshop on the last day of the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference called “Our Lives: Queer API Experiences.”  Unlike many of the workshops ours was not a panel discussion but rather a caucus.  We arranged the chairs in a circle and hoped that this would make everyone feel like they could have a chance to mold the discussion in whatever way they desired. While our workshop was restricted to API’s we welcomed any individual who identifies as Asian (whether your Hapa, born in the US, an immigrant or an Asian American adoptee).  There were about 13 people in attendance and although we personally identified and grew up in different manners it was wonderful to see that we thought about many of the same issues.  At the start of the discussion people threw around the term “typical Asian” and it allowed us to think about whether there is a need for such a generalized term to define members of our community.  For most of the workshop we discussed the implications class and poverty has on our Asian identities.  For some of us it made us question if our financial circumstances had a role in how we able to express our gender variances latter in life.  Others wondered why it feels like were poor but have assets that by societal terms means your middle class (and how do you define middle class?)  Overall, it felt like a small safe space for us to share our stories and raise questions that resulted in critical dialog.


Hello my name is Tay and welcome everyone to Our Lives: Queer API experiences. Back in January Van and I heard that the THC was lacking in workshops for POC who weren’t African American.  While I’m so pleased that there are numerous workshops for people of color, we are 1 of 2 specifically for queer API.  Both Van and I think it’s crucial that we have a safe space of our own where we can touch upon the cultural issues and personal history of being a queer API.  This workshop is labeled as restricted but it really isn’t.  Whether you were born in the US, you or your family has immigrated from Asia or are an Asian American adoptee, this workshop is designed for us to share our experiences.  Being a transgender, gender queer and gender nonconforming individual there are many ways in which your ethnicity has played a part in your transition.  Trans and gender variant individuals are among the most concealed and at the lowest edge of social standing in the API community mostly due lack of understanding of our lives.  I hope we can walk away from this workshop with the intent to have our stories help shape change in our personal life’s and the world at large.

Topics, questions and themes from Our Lives: Queer API Experiences

-How do you speak out about marginalization and abuse statistics of queer APIs

-How did it feel to come out as gender non-conforming

-Language barriers

-API queer voices in People of Color communities

-Asian bodies and aesthetics

-Queer Asian spaces

-API as one group

-Mentors for transgender children

-Recognition of you within the family

-Interracial romance/sex

-Class and connecting to APIs from multi-generational poverty

-Therapist’s advised/support and when it only applies to white backgrounds

-Building social/capital and identity in metropolitan cities


-Reconnecting with indigenous API histories

-Faith and religion

-Asian resources

Join us: Dyke March on Sat, June 11th

Hey Hotpot and Allies,
In three days, this Saturday, we hugely hope that you join us at the Philadelphia Dyke March!
We will march and wear green with Hotpot for VISIBILITY as Intersections of
Asian and Pacific Islander
women, trans, gendervariant and genderqueer/non-conforming identified folks and
transmen, transmasculine folks
Starts at Kahn Park 11th and Pine Saturday June 11, 3-6 pm
Rally at 3pm, Step-off at 4pm
Visually unify yourself with Hotpot by WEARING GREEN SHIRTS
Rain or shine
Contact us with questions and for a contact number.
Bring friends, families, and allies!
Historically, Dyke marches were separately created as a protest to more mainstream pride events which unfortunately continue with patriarchal and oppressive values.
Fondly, Kristin, Megumi, Alison, Laurent, and Tay

Philadelphia Pride Parade and Festival

Philadelphia Pride Parade and Festival

Sunday, June 12, 2011

“Pride Around the World”

Hello Friends:

QPA and Hotpot! invite you to march in the 2011 Philly Gay Pride Parade on Sunday, June 12, 2011 to broaden the visibility of Asian LGBTQ in the Philadelphia area and continue the cause for equality for the LGBTQ community. Friends, Families and Allies are welcome to join and march with us.

Do you know of the story of Philadelphia couple Anton Tanumihardja and Brian Anderson? Anton & Brian are one of many gay and lesbian bi-national couples who are fighting deportation, separation, and exile caused by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and U.S. Immigration law. It’s time to Stop the Deportations!

QPA & Hotpot! are marching to raise awareness and support to end discrimination in immigration law.

Join us to support Anton & Brian for marriage & immigration equality!

(Anton & Brian are getting married on the same weekend!)


Sunday, June 12th, 11:00 am


13th and Locust/Spruce Streets

(Lot number to be announced next week)

Please RSVP ( by Thursday, June 9, 2011.

For more information, visit

QPA & Hotpot! Pride Planning Committee