International LGBT Human Rights Conference of the First World Outgames was really busy, with 38 workshops happening at one given time. It was a bit, maybe more than a bit, let me 'fess up, confusing, but I made my way through to the workshops I was interested in attending. (The picture is taken during the opening dinner of the conference, which was graced by many high-level Quebec politicians as well as the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Louise Arbour. On stage: Rosanna Flamer-Caldera and Philippe Braun, the co-chairs of the ILGA World.)
Our workshop panel on East Asian Democracy and LGBT Rights Mainstreaming had speakers from Indonesia (Djoni), Mongolia (me) and the Philippines (Anna Leah Sarabia), with the chair Rosanna Caldera-Flamer, the co-chair of the ILGA international (from left to right in the picture). Although not many people turned up for our workshop due to Robin Tyler's stand-up comedy workshop that was happening at the same time, the relevant people were there and they were happy with our presentations, I believe.
Ah, it was an honour to be asked to go on a float together with the Gay and Lesbian Asian Montrealers (GLAM) by Alan Wong, GLAM director, for the Pride Parade on the evening of July 30th, but unfortunately as I was leaving on the 30th morning, I had missed my opportunity to go on a pride float, would've been my first!
Met many interesting people during the conference, and even had a beautifully unexpected and moving meeting with one of my gay brothers from India who has been there for me with other lesbian and gay friends of mine when I was beginning to come out in 1997. (The picture: workshop on Sexual Diversity in Asia - panelists are from Canada/Thailand, Japan and India.)
The closing plenary of the conference was graced by the sporting dykon Martina Navratilova, who delivered a speech reminding everyone to make a will to contribute to not only their parnter's well-being, but also to the community.
The First World Outgames Opening Ceremony
Now, the opening ceremony of the Outgames at the Olympic stadium of Montreal was just mind-blowing. On the stage, Martina and someone... (I didn't get his name, but he's an Olympic champion out gay man) are reading out the Montreal Declaration. I was standing among the Germans with a newly acquired friend, Jackie, from the US, based in Tokyo, just a couple of metres from the stage, and right at the railing of the side stage, so we had a great opportunity to see kd (!!!!!!!) from real up-close!
Here she is, kd, prancing around on the stage! It was amazing to finally see her after a decade of loving her voice and her songs. A beautiful free spirit!!! kd said that it was going to be a good year for human race, and I agree with her, and would go on to say that it is indeed going to be a better place for all of us thanks to these kind of events that gather all people from all over the world to create and foster equality, liberty and freedom.
Here is kd again! She's singing "Ms. Chatellaine" in this pic.
There are many other things worth mentioning, but at this point, I will stop here to let you have a look at the pics yourselves and understand why I said "Wish you were all there!". The pics below are just pics of the Palais de Congres in Montreal and around Montreal.
Palais de Congres in the evening.
Inside the Palais. The elevators are going up to the plenary and workshop halls.
Outside the Congress Palace, during my smoke-break.
Palais de Congres from another colourful angle.
Viger Square had an event every night. My hosts (well, at least one of them) and their friends - now my friends as well - we all went to the disco night of the Viger Square on July 28. The crowd energy was great, but I was too tired to stick around, so went back to sleep early.
Viger Square. Disco night.
Famous LGBT people who took part in the Conference:
Georgina Beyer, the first transsexual Member of Parliament in the world, New Zealand, making a speech on the plenary on Asia and Pacific. Lovely woman!
Justice Kirby. Out gay Supreme Court judge from Australia.
Ashok Kavi Rao, the Indian trail-blazer on gay discourse.