Rainbow Rising: Community, Solidarity & Scholarship will be held on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at the William S. Richardson School of Law in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

We will be bringing together scholars and legal activists from throughout Asia and Oceania to discuss gender and sexuality as they relate to both local and global  issue and developments. Rainbow Rising will be a day-long event featuring five prestigious speakers and a panel discussion, infused with local art, entertainment, and Hawaiian food. Join us for this unique opportunity!

Our Speakers

We have invited speakers from around the Asia-Pacific region and the U.S. to bring together a variety of experiences, perspectives, and ideas on sexuality and gender identity. You can read the background of each of our speakers below.

Photo credit: Satoko Kawasaki

Taiga Ishikawa, Japan- Mr. Ishikawa is a Japanese politician and LGBT activist. He became one of the first two openly gay male politicians to win an election in Japanese history when he was elected to a seat in the Tokyo’s Toshima ward assembly in April 2011. A graduate of the Meiji Gakuin University School of Law and a native of Sugamo, he previously served as a secretary to SDP chair Mizuho Fukushima, and founded the gay male support organization Peer Friends in 2004. He came out in 2002 at the age of 28 through a memoir, Where is My Boyfriend?. He has since been active in the Japanese LGBT rights movement and has appeared on various series, including NHK’s Heart-to-Heart, and has participated in the Tokyo Pride Parade. Mr. Ishikawa helped successfully lobby the Japanese government to amend the certificate allowing Japanese citizens to marry foreign nationals of the same sex in countries where same-sex marriage is legal. He is campaigning for the creation of a municipal domestic partnership registry for Toshima which would grant ward-managed housing and hospital visitation rights to same-sex couples.
Suh Yeon Chang, South Korea -Ms. Chang lawyer working for the human rights of LGBT people, PL, immigrants, and people with disabilities in the Korean Public Interest Lawyers’ Group Gong-Gam. Gong-gam is a non-governmental organization in South Korea with full-time lawyers devoted to advocating the human rights of minorities. Major cases in which Gong-gam have participated regarding LGBT rights are:  Legislative movement in 2006 for the Gender Reassignment Act of Transgender People (which has not been legislated yet);  Revocation suit of rating X(NC-18) to a Korean gay-themed film, “Just Friends?(2009)” (In 2011, Seoul High Court decided in favor of the plantiff);  Claim for damages and appeal to the National Human Rights Commission on the treatment of transgender and HIV-positive prisoners;  Legislative movement in 2011 for the Seoul Students’ Rights Ordinancewith prohibition of the discrimination against LGBT teenagers. (The ordinance was adopted in 2011).

Dédé Oetomo, Indonesia -Dr. Dédé Oetomo is the founder and chair of the Board of Trustees of GAYa NUSANTARA Foundation. He is adjunct faculty at Univ. Surabaya, Univ. Airlangga, and Widya Mandala Catholic University in Surabaya, Indonesia, and an internationally recognized scholar, educator and activist in HIV/AIDS and sexuality research, training and advocacy.  He has served on the International Advisory Board of the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Asia-Pacific Council of AIDS Service Organizations, South and Southeast Asia Resource Center on Sexuality, and the Asia-Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health.  He was awarded the Felipa de Souza Award by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in 1998 and the Utopia Award for Pioneering Gay Work in Asia, 2001.

Alexander K. Su’a- Alex is a Samoan LGBTI Human Rights Activist who identifies as fa’afafine. Alex is a lawyer by profession who works as an associate with the Law Firm of Vaai, Hoglund & Tamati Law Firm, in Apia, Samoa. Alex has been an advocate of human rights and social justice in Samoa and the South Pacific region and is a founding member of the Samoa Fa’afafine Association and a former President of the same in 2010 – 2011. Alex is a founding member of the first LGBTI Working Group in Samoa and continues to be an agent of social change that progresses society in Samoa from a human rights and social justice perspective.

Peter Renn, USA- Mr. Renn is a Staff Attorney in the Western Regional Office of Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and people with HIV.  He joined Lambda Legal in 2010 and has worked on a range of issues, including relationship recognition, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” employment discrimination, government misconduct, tax, and HIV confidentiality. Mr. Renn graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an executive editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.  During law school, he worked at Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT Project, and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.  Following law school, Mr. Renn clerked for the Honorable Lawrence K. Karlton in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.  He received his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in psychology and Plan II from the University of Texas at Austin.

OUR Panelists

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