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APTN Newsletter - December 2021
Accessible & accurate trans news and information from around Asia Pacific.


The continued pandemic has made us rethink priorities and look at challenges in a different light. Many of the APTN staffers and community had to find ways to cope - away from their communities, loved ones and their chosen family. It was difficult not being able to connect physically with the many trans folks around the region when the border was closed. We had to go back to the drawing board for the implementation of our strategic plan and work plans multiple times with the ongoing crisis and pandemic. I am very grateful for the work that the team has shown despite their longing to be reconnected to their families and loved ones. While we may not be working physically as much as we used to, everyone developed a professional intimacy with each other and often check in on each other's well-being.

Since the pandemic, we’ve provided additional welfare that includes WFH allowances, mental health support and medical care to the staffers. These benefits that were utilized have shown me the difference it has made for our team members. We re-looked at the cultural values of the organisation, listened to what needs improvement and learned from each other how we can foster a healthier and more balanced workspace and personal life.

We expanded the advocacy team and finance team this year to meet the growing needs of the organisation and welcomed two ex-APTN staffers back onto the team, Marli Gutierrez-Patterson and Nhuun Wannapong Yodmuang. We relaunched our website, which brought new exciting and unexpected partnerships that we hope to explore more in the future. In addition, we engaged an audit firm this year to advise on our operations processes  to reduce the administrative burdens on our staff as we shift to a work from home and remote work arrangement.

This year, we brought together 7 regional partners in Asia and the Pacific in a joint project aimed to strengthen regional responses amongst the drug users, sex workers, woman living with HIV, people living with HIV, youths, men who have sex with men and gay men and SOGIESC communities, this project will begin in 2022.

To be able to create more sustainable operations and support for local organisations, we will conduct a fundraising campaign by the end of this year. With this campaign, we aim to engage and expand our donor base to private sectors.  In the coming three years, we will exchange learnings and strengthen our networks’ capacity in a joint partnership with the trans network in Africa, sexual and gender diversity network in the Pacific, and Youth network in the Asia Pacific. With dedicated resources directed for supporting partners' grant proposal development, we are beginning to see fruition in these investments aimed at strengthening organisation capacities on fundraising and funds management.

2021 has taught me patience, vulnerability and openness. As an organisation, we’ve learned that culture-building must be a collective and consistent effort to keep the organisation healthy, safe and happy — more so as we move into making remote work a part of the working culture in achieving together, having collective responsibility and being supportive of every individual.

To recap it in three words, for me 2021 is about "flow", "grounding", and "dedication". 

On behalf of the team at APTN, I wish you good health and happy holidays!

Warm regards,

Joe Wong
Executive Director

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2021

The second year of the pandemic has taught us many lessons. Despite the challenges, we are still continuing to strive. Thanks to all of our partners, we are glad that we passed this challenging year with grace. The APTN office will be temporarily closed for Christmas and New Year break from the 24th of December to 7th of January 2022. We look forward to seeing you again in the next year!

How has this year has been for you? In the section below, each of our team members shares their reflection in 2021 and their three words for 2021.
Raine Cortes
Senior Project Manager

Raine's 2021 Reflections
This year has been a journey of ups and downs, and a mix of emotions. Playing a bigger role within APTN and having more responsibility also entails its own challenges, coupled with health-related concerns and the passing of three family members. This year made me take a step back, re-assess and reprioritize where and what I am doing now, and recognize that my holistic health is above all else. This has been a journey of almost four years, and I remain to be full of gratitude to APTN, as I embark on the next chapter of my life called ‘change’.

Raine's 2021 Achievements
2021 marks my almost four years with APTN; a year that marks my official assumption to a bigger role as Senior Project Manager. With this position comes greater responsibility, and I have continuously managed several projects of APTN (i.e DRL-GEF, GF-SKPA, KPIF-EpiC) and supported others (i.e. RCF, OSF, FIFF, UNAIDS). Keeping track of all these projects and at the same time contributing to the organisation’s resource mobilization is an achievement in itself.

Three words for 2021:
Journey, Gratitude, Change
Jas Pham
Knowledge Management and Operations Officer

Jas's 2021 Reflections
This year has been probably the most challenging year at APTN. I think I got more used to the pandemic, but I faced other unexpected challenges in my work and had to quickly adapt and learn to respond to new situations I never faced before. Hopefully, all went well in the end, but I definitely feel like I need more time to catch up and take care of myself and my well-being.

Jas's 2021 Achievements
2021 was another very intense year of learning and growth, both personal and career-wise. I shifted to a new role, handling new responsibilities while supporting core projects. Additionally, I'm also helping new staff to join and make space for those who are leaving. We have many unexpected partnerships and opportunities, I'm looking forward to embracing all of them and helping APTN to grow even further.

Jas's three words for 2021:
Awareness, Self-love, and HODL
Cole Young
Program Officer

Cole's 2021 Reflections
COVID has continued to disrupt the lives and work of trans communities and organisations across the world. It hasn’t been easy, but our partners, community members, and team have pushed through the challenges in order to continue doing vital work for trans health, trans rights, and trans communities.

Cole's 2021 Achievements
Over the last two years, I have been working on our Trans Health and Rights Module and the projects are almost ready for release. I hope when we share these resources early next year, they will be useful in educating trans individuals and their health care providers about trans health and wellbeing.

Three words for 2021:
Reflection, Clarity, Ambition
Patcharin Nadum
Finance, Administration and HR Manager

Patcharin's 2021 Reflections
Approaching the second year of the pandemic, we are still continuing to work from home. This situation made it challenging to coordinate on some important matters, and I am learning how to take care of myself and make a better balance between work and life balance.

Patcharin's 2021 Achievements
I learned to be a leader this year. Last year, I worked as an officer to support the Accounting and Finance matters of the organisation. This year, I led the new officers that joined my department and trained them as a manager.

Three words for 2021:
Accountability, Persevere, Hope
Suwimol Changprung
Accounting and Finance Officer

Suwimol's 2021 Reflections
For me, COVID-19 is one of the biggest challenges in 2021, we had an experience last year to face a similar situation but unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to worsen. This year I had less catching up with family and friends, but gladly I found a way to support them. Working remotely is not easy for me but I tried my best to manage my responsibility. 

Suwimol's 2021 Achievements
I learned more about project budget reporting. I am also improving APTN's accounting to a digital system. With that, we printed fewer documents and were able to save papers.

Three words for 2021:
Acceptance, Patience, Economize
Chongon Tantavanich
Admin and HR Officer

Chongon's 2021 Reflections
This year, I had a big loss, my loving father passed away. Because of this, I realize that life is short, and anyone could be dying, especially during COVID-19. It made me think that we need to always be mindful and live our life to the fullest. Nevertheless, I am glad that I can stay closer with my family and work from home. We spend more time together after working hours.

Chongon's 2021 Achievements
I can work more productively during work from home. I also adapt myself to the new technologies for work and the new normal lifestyle.

Three words for 2021:
Honesty, Sincerity and Solidarity
Madhura Chakraborty
Human Rights and Advocacy Manager

Madhura's 2021 Reflections
Amid the pandemic and growing economic and political fundamentalisms, the emergence of trans-exclusionary feminism and its co-option of feminist discourse to serve the right-wing, anti-trans agenda is concerning and disheartening. At the same time, I have hope because trans voices are being raised in protests everywhere and are becoming harder to ignore.

Madhura's 2021 Achievements
I have been learning and growing in and with my work. My contribution has been bringing fresh perspectives that enable the exploration of newer avenues to advocate for intersectional trans rights.

Three words for 2021:
Precarity, Support, Hope
Nhuun Yodmuang
Senior Human Rights and Advocacy Officer

Nhuun's 2021 Reflections
2021 shows how unjust this world is. Seeing that trans friends have struggled to live & service during COVID-19 pandemic is heavy hearted. It has reminded me why I do what I do, and I need to do it better.

Nhuun's 2021 Achievements
Being a part of diverse groups to hold the states accountable to women and trans people is my biggest achievement this year. I have joined several advocacy movements of feminists and trans people in local, regional, and international movements such as CSW, UNCTAD, and UNHRC.

Three words for 2021:
Uncertainty, Resilience, Hope
Marli Gutierrez-Patterson
Project Officer

Marli's 2021 Reflections
There continue to be so many unknowns with COVID but again and again, we’ve seen local organisations were the first responders and lifeline for so many. Thankfully, foundations responded by allowing more flexible funding but as inequity continues to grow, I want to see more support for the emotional wellbeing of individuals that are leading these responses.

Marli's 2021 Achievements
Showing up and reaching out to others has been so important for my well being this past year. Taking the opposite action of what I was feeling (lonely, tired) and connecting with another person who I can listen to and relate to was the most meaningful and best way to remind myself of the strength of teamwork and give meaning to my days.

Three words for 2021:
Gratitude, Transformation, Kindness
Erik Nadir
Communications Officer

Erik's 2021 Reflections
Prior to joining APTN, I was one of the fellows in APTN’s 2020 fellowship programme. I could say that the fellowship changed my life as a trans nonbinary person. It helped me realize what I want to do in my career. now that I am joining APTN, I am so grateful to work in the field that I really want.

Erik's 2021 Achievements
What I wanted to highlight is my APTN Fellowship comic project that talks about being nonbinary in Southeast Asia, published in New Naratif. I collaborated with trans and non-binary folks in the region in finishing the project.

Three words for 2021:
Healing, Strength, Growth
APTN is seeking a Program Manager to manage, develop and grow APTN programmatic work. This position is based in Bangkok, Thailand. The Program Manager role is to conceptualise, lead and oversee the programmatic work of the organisation, to supervise the Programmes Team staff and to strategically develop APTN’s programmatic work in close collaboration with the Executive Director.

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Read the First Half in Review Biannual Newsletter (Jan to Aug 2020) or the Second Half in Review Biannual Newsletter (Aug to Dec 2020) on our website
Copyright © Asia Pacific Transgender Network  2021

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