additional haikus and non-haikus: reflections on nqapia conference

adoptee workshop

hapa, mestiza,
mixed race. queer. life in border-
lands. fit in nowhere.

not white enough. not
asian enough. asian heart.
white face. who decides?

grounded to find
coalition with qapi adoptee
to white family.

dear white family,
please do not deny asian
baby’s asian-ness.

filipin@ caucus

the american dream
versus the filipin@ dream.
generation/immigration gap.
not the direction some think.

reproductive justice workshop

please create timeline
number-line for years of age
sexual/reproductive development
suggestion: try it

and the not scheduled, other

poly. swimming. knit.
community. salads. friend-
crushes. good night sleep.


The amazing experience that was NQAPIA

Wow, it’s already been a month since NQAPIA was held! I am in a different continent altogether and it really feels strange writing this blog post at this point in time. Numerous images from the conference are cascading my thoughts right now and I definitely remember being super excited and somewhat overwhelmed with the different types of people and workshops I came across with. Some highlights include:

The ‘Creative Storytelling’ and ‘It’s better to speak to a camera than to a person’ workshops

I loved attending both these workshops mainly due to my deep attachment and belief in the power of visual storytelling/viewing. The workshops focused on creating safe spaces for people affected with HIV/AIDS or for those coming to terms with their own sexuality as integral in forming a heightened sense of awareness and consciousness on the part of the viewer. Picture collages coupled with employing a hand-held, tracking camera are used to make these documentary-esque videos but the stories themselves took on more of a narrative form, which I found effective.

Check the videos out at:

South Asian Caucus:

I appreciated this Caucus immensely since it was extremely discussion-oriented and everyone in the room (there were like 30 -35 people) spoke about the pressing issues they would like to witness/create change in within the South Asian Community. I myself expressed how NQAPIA provides a nurturing space for people to interact with one another but after its conclusion, our individual spaces might not be conducive to talking about such topics, especially in our respective countries. I liked how two people talked about the use and need for art to be transformative within our LGBT arenas and I loved listening to the elderly speak about how far they’ve come and the improvements they’ve undergone in both body and mind.

Queer Muslim workshop (forgot the title):

This workshop was not quite what I had expected as I wanted it to be more informative or discussion-oriented. Ever since I have come back to Bangladesh, the call of the Azan has beckoned me every day and I haven’t mustered the strength to pray namaz since I still have trouble aligning my religion with my gay identity. I felt I had too many expectations from this workshop but it has proven to be a personal journey that I will have to take (have attempted before) if I am to come to terms with these issues. Overall, I thought the presenters were very open about their religious lives and I learnt a lot from them.

I really enjoyed being a part of this conference and making new friends. I can’t wait for the next one!

by Federico

First time at a Queer AAPI South Asian National Conference

As the title says, it’s my first time being a presenter and attending a National Queer AAPI and South Asian conference so understandably, I was excited. Here are the skinny and bare opinions about some of the workshops I attended.

How to Run the Best Meeting EVER!

This was awesome and the best one yet. I learned new things about facilitating and MIT (Motivation, Information Tradition). Make it fun and productive!

Immigrants’ Rights for LGBT AAPIs: Defining the Agenda

Being an immigrant myself and deeply involved in immigrant communities, what the presenters had to say was nothing new to me, but I’m sure this was a really good and informative workshop for people who just begun to learn about immigration.

Communication and Conflict: How to Transform Your Organizational Culture (2 Parts)

This was another awesome workshop brought by my two favorites presenters, Bex and Moof. I got to learn how hotpot! is actually practicing a lot of the methods they taught in this workshop and how useful the methods are to resolve conflicts within members of an organization or at least make it workable so that no one had to leave the workplace/organization.

A Part, Yet Apart: LGBT South Asians

This was very informational for me as I learn new things about issues facing queer South Asians and the differences of self acceptance and community acceptance between the many South Asian nationalities and ethnicities. Another highlights was about one of the presenters, whose name I forgo. She read a letter she wrote about her many identities concerning being queer, a woman, an Indian born, an immigrant, a professor, a mother and many other things with how people see her from the outside and her seeing herself.

In closing, I’ll say this was a good conference experience and I’m glad I was there.

ASIAC Provides hotpot! Designed Safe Sex Kit

We are proud to announce the release of ASIAC’s new hypoallergenic safe sex kit, which debuted last night at our Sextalk workshop.  The kit contains 3 nitrile gloves, 2 polyisoprene condoms, 1 polyurethane female condom, 1 glycerin and paraben-free lube pillow, and a few cotton balls. hotpot! steering committee member Van introduced her own personal kit contents to ASIAC who took the idea and made it an accessible resource for everyone.

So what does this all mean?

  • The primary purpose of this kit appeals to those with latex allergies which can make safe sex difficult with the lack of easily accessible alternatives (non-latex condoms are much more expensive than regular ones). A positive side effect of using non-latex condoms that everyone can enjoy is that it doesn’t have the rubbery smell/taste of latex and transfers heat better than latex, which may make a more intimate experience for some.
  • Non-latex gloves (in this packet, nitrile) allows you to keep your hands clean from wherever you’re playing as well as keep your dirty hands (pun intended) from potentially contaminating your partner.
  • Glycerin is an ingredient commonly found in most lubes on the market that provides a slightly sweet taste to it. However, synthetic glycerin can trigger yeast infections in some people, and large amounts can damage mucous membranes; i.e. it can be an irritant to some people and when enough is used, it can be potentially unsafe.
  • Parabens are a range of synthetic preservatives that mimics estrogen and is potentially linked with breast cancer.
  • Those who prefer to have longer nails, bite their nails, or otherwise have finger tips that may be a little sharp no longer have to worry about whether or not they can use their hands to please their partners! Just add a cotton ball or two into the fingertips of the gloves and you’re all set to have fun.

All of this is generously provided by ASIAC, a non-profit 501(c)3 community based organization dedicated to providing culturally sensitive and language appropriate HIV and other related services to Asians & Pacific Islanders (APIs) and their partners, family members, friends and service providers in the Philadelphia area. You may make an appointment by calling them at 215.629.2300 x123, or emailing them at They are located at 1711 S. Broad Street.

Sextalk with hotpot! Fundraiser!

Hello everyone! Our newest event is now live and ready for you to rsvp on Facebook! What is it, you ask? Why, a workshop about sex, of course!

This is a safe queer space to talk about sex beyond the basics. Bring your experiences, questions, and dirty mouths to a fun facilitated workshop about sex and how it can be even more fun and awesome! This workshop will be lead by the lovely Van N., who will be bringing some sex toys to be used as fidget toys or just conversation starters!

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
7:00 PM – Mingling with (non-alcoholic) bubbly drinks with treats
7:30 – 9:00 PM – Facilitated Workshop

xxx Walton St., West Philly (details to be released later)

We are fundraising to support our members who went to NQAPIA at cost, so please come and help us out!

Suggested donation:
$10-15 sliding scale. *Absolutely no one will be turned away due to lack of funds. We really want as many people to come to this as possible!

*This is a closed space to people of all genders who identify along the queer spectrum.

Come join us if you are able to, and rsvp either to our email ( or on Facebook to let us have an idea on who’s coming!
–Van and the Steering Committee

Cookies and Queers, August 1 at 7!

Cookies & queers: a hotpot baking contest fundraiser!
Wednesday, August 1st
7-9 pm

12xx Lantern Square
(near 12th & Pine)
Philadelphia, PA 19107
$5-20 donation to go toward covering conference costs

Winners will be decided by popular vote!
Voting at 8:30; winners announced at 9!

Competition categories:
Best chocolate chip cookie
Best red bean treat
Best fruit dessert
Most delicious savory snack

Come to eat, compete or both!
Bring a treat (sweet or savory) to share, or just bring yourself and your tupperware to bring treats home.
(If you want to bring food but don’t want to compete, that’s also fine!)

Let us know if you’re coming, if you can, so we know how many people to expect and give you the full address. This event is hosted by Talia. as always!



I have never been in a completely queer AAPI space before, and being a conference with 300 of them made me so happy. I went to some great workshops, met wonderful people, and got to learn more about the work that is being done all over the country. My experience helped put our work as hotpot! into perspective as we are collectively moving forward as a queer AAPI force across the country.

Some hotpotters and I participated in the Running the Best [Staff/Volunteer/Board] Meeting EVER workshop, and we picked up a few tips on how to improve our facilitation within the Steering Committee and general potluck meetings.

I met some great resources at the Combating Harassment, BUllying, and Violence in LGBT AAPI Communities in the form of the US Department of Justice/Community Relations Service, which helps provide an educative role to various organizations in order to prevent and resolve issues of conflict regarding race.

My absolute personal favourite was the Wannabe Moms and Dads panel workshop with various families and their experiences starting a family. I learned a lot about adoption law and its related cautionary measures, IVF vs. IUI insemination, what to do about having a known donor, and how being parent gets you access to an exclusive club where all that matters is that you have kids and other parents can relate! I absolutely cannot wait until I get to join that club because I’m already having a taste of it at my day job with the families of my 4-5 year olds.

Hands down, the most fun workshop was Queering Gender: Sex, Gender, and the Liberation of Queer AAPI Families led by the amazing CJ Frosch and Sarath Suong. Who knew how much fun it could be playing with labels, analyzing Ellen Degeneres’ bubbles of awesome gender expression in relation to her other identities, and talking about how our various communities liberate or restrain our own identities? I do now.

I ended the weekend with Coming out as Trans: A Unique Journey. Being a Philadelphia Trans-Health Organiser who primarily works outside of the workshop spectrum in the kids camp, I miss out on a lot of trans topics, and I was glad to be able to go to this workshop and expand my knowledge of various experiences on what it means to come out as trans in the Asian communities. As much as I enjoyed my time there, I am moved to be part of more discussions regarding the intersectionalities of being Asian and trans, and everything else in between. Here’s to hoping for the future!


Let’s share FOOD TIME with hotpot!

We are pleased to invite you to FOOD TIME with hotpot! at  Smile Cafe on these two dates: Monday, July 9th and Tuesday, July 17th from 5-9pm and at Sky Cafe on Tuesday, July 10th from 4-8pm.

Sky Cafe is an Indonesian Restaurant with many fans, including some of hotpot!-ers and allies.

FOOD TIME is our fundraising endeavor where hotpot! will receive fifteen to twenty percent of your total bill from a local community restaurant. Our goal is to continue and share our work around community building and LGBTQ immigration.

This July, we’ll be heading to Washington, DC to present at The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) Conference that only happens every three years!. We need to raise $2000 to keep hotpot! on track to attend with 12 members. Recognizing that it is a privilege to have paid vacation days and that without them days at the conference is a financial loss, we will reimburse those hotpot! members. This is why we’re asking for your help.

Please support us at Smile Cafe and Sky Cafe and check out the menu on their website. If you have never eaten Indonesian food before, or never been to Sky Cafe or if you’ve been to Smile Cafe (Thai food) and want something different, check out yelp reviews to see what people say about them (Rated at 4.5 stars!!).

Date:    Monday, July 9th & Tuesday, July 17th
Time:    5-9pm
Venue:  Smile Cafe
105 S. 22nd Street (between Chestnut and Samson Streets)
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone:  215.564.2502

Date:   Tuesday, July 10th
Time:    4-8pm
Venue:  Sky Cafe
1540 Ritner St.
Philadelphia, PA 19145
Phone:  (215) 271 1983

If you can’t come, you can still donate; just send us email at

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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].”


hotpot! at Philly Pride 2012

hotpot! had a blast marching in the Pride Parade today. We decorated a car with several Asian flags, posters, and a lion head. We debuted our new banner and even attracted some new friends from the sidelines to join us on our march.

As for honors, hotpot! won best public statement this year with our mission!

It’s always great to meet new people and it’s great to start the summer off with excitement!