Amid the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in San Francisco, the city’s LGBTQ+ community held a midweek party called “Gaypec” to celebrate queerness, particularly within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.
About Gaypec: The event, which drew international attention, was organized by officials like City Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and welcomed APEC delegates to a reception at a gay club in the Castro district. The party reportedly included appearances by top CEOs and seductive dances by drag queens, including Cambodian American Khmera Rouge.
“It seemed to me that if an event like this is happening in San Francisco, there has to be some part of it that’s gay,” Mandelman told Reuters, noting that he set up the event with the help of the mayor’s office and other gay politicians “to give folks from countries with a varying degree of acceptance of queerness an opportunity to come out and have a good time.”
Controversy: Although San Francisco is known for its large and politically active LGBTQ+ population, same-sex marriage is only legal in four of APEC’s 21-member states. Due to diplomatic concerns, there were only a limited number of attendees by foreign delegates.
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Making a statement: However, the organizers of Gaypec still sought to provide a supportive environment and make a statement about advancing equality and inclusivity.
“We know that LGBT rights are not enjoyed in many Asian countries,” Evan Low, an openly gay Chinese American state assembly member, told AFP. “I met a number of delegates who privately pulled me aside and said, I wish I could come to this Gaypec event, but for me as an official diplomat, it would be terrible, it would be devastating. “So we are here to gather and channel this energy into a movement, into an actual commitment of advancing equality for everyone.”
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