Introducing your 2018 AQUA DC
Kevin hails from sunny Los Angeles (and misses it often), and currently serves as a Presidential Management Fellow and research analyst at a foreign affairs-related federal agency. Like many queer Asians and Pacific Islanders, he went through a long personal journey to find self and community; during his tenure with AQUA DC, he hopes to nurture spaces of healing and friendship for other queer APIs.
Before D.C., Kevin was in New York pursuing graduate studies, where he was elected to student government by a margin of 9 votes. Prior to that, he taught high school in Nara, Japan, where he enjoyed leading his students toward glory—in Taylor Swift song-and-dance routines for the English Festival. He enjoys hosting socials, singing enka, and writing creative nonfiction. Kevin holds a bachelors from UChicago and masters from Columbia SIPA.
Clarence was born in the Philippines, raised in New York City, and now resides in Washington, D.C., where he works in international development. Through AQUA, Clarence wants to help create a safe space for the LGBTQ community and create a dialogue that promotes and supports LGBTQ issues. Apart from work and AQUA, Clarence enjoys watching a lot of movies and cooking for friends. After watching too much America’s Next Top Model in his youth, he now has a permanent strut.
Heejun grew up in Virginia. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry and currently works at a research institute in Ashburn, VA. Heejun joined AQUA in 2016 as a member and became a board member to facilitate the organization and as a liaison for Korean Queer and Transgender of D.C. (KQT-DC). He is interested in promoting LGBT education to API and immigration rights.
Eddie is a native of Hong Kong and came to the U.S. about 6 years ago. He has lived in Irvine, CA, and Boston, MA, and is currently based in the nation’s capital pursuing graduate training in psychology. It feels like home the most when he is connecting with queer Asian folks in the community, sharing meals and celebrating festivals together, and discussing important issues facing many of us. While he was in Hong Kong, he volunteered at an organization that serves LGBTQ youth and their parents where folks would meet regularly to support one another in understanding and affirming a wide spectrum of queer experiences. Building on this experience, it is his hope to serve the queer Asian community in the DMV area by holding spaces to help bridge differences and build growth-fostering relationships through AQUA’s monthly support group (co-organized with APIQS). While “coming out” is a life-long process and can be taxing at times, he hopes AQUA can be a space where folks can feel like “coming home”.
Peter’s philosophy in life is to pay forward his blessings and opportunities through the mentorship, guidance, support, and service offered to others.
From September 2017 – July 2018, Peter had the privilege of serving as the Associate Director of the HIV and Health Equity Program at the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy organization in the country. Prior to joining HRC, he served as the Associate Director at APAIT, a HIV and AIDS service organization based in Los Angeles.
In 2016, he led APAIT’s efforts in organizing #NotOurPride, a coalition of LGBTQ groups and individuals that spoke out against controversial changes that were planned for that year’s LA Pride Festival by event organizer, Christopher Street West (CSW). As a result of #NotOurPride’s advocacy, the proposed changes were rescinded by CSW and approximately 17,000 LGBTQ individuals and allies were offered free admission to that year’s Friday night festivities. #NotOurPride received coverage from the Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, USA Today, Vice, Gay Star News, and LA Weekly.
Additionally, he played an integral role in the development and implementation of the Midnight Stroll, a monthly outreach event targeting homeless LGBTQ individuals and trans sex workers in the Hollywood area. The Midnight Stroll was established through a partnership between APAIT, The Wall Las Memorias, the Los Angeles Transgender Advisory Council, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the office of Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. The Midnight Stroll received coverage from the Los Angeles Times and The Advocate.
Lastly, in June 2017, he had the honor of being the opening speaker at the Resist March, a historic LGBTQ rights march in Los Angeles and West Hollywood which drew an estimated crowd of 100,000 people.
Peter is grateful to be involved with AQUA DC and looks forward to many fun and exciting events!
Kyle works as an International Relations Officer researching and implementing policies on child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking in East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands . He was born in South Korea and has lived in Arizona, Maine, New Mexico, California, Thailand, and now Washington, D.C. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand from 2011-2013 as a community development advisor. After serving in Thailand, Kyle moved to Washington, D.C. and graduated from The American University with his M.A. in international affairs focusing on Southeast Asia and U.S. foreign policy from the School of International Service as a Coverdell Fellow. He also holds a bachelor degree in psychology with double minors in chemistry and natural sciences from the University of San Francisco. He enjoys cooking with his partner, playing tennis, riding his bike, playing with animals, traveling, and taking selfies.
Kyle hopes his work through AQUA DC will help connect other queer API males in the D.C. area through community-service, advocacy, and social activities. His ultimate goal is to help ensure that the API community at-large maintains and grows its voice in the increasing diversification in the D.C. area.
Ping Nguyen is a proud son of Vietnamese immigrants. After leaving Vietnam in 1999, he grew up in the great states of North Carolina and South Carolina, where he picked up his southern charm and zest for life. Currently, he works to improve the higher education landscape, especially connecting students with marginalized identities to higher education opportunities. He joins AQUA to seek a loving Queer Asian community. As a board member, one of his major aspirations for AQUA is to strengthening the Asian Queer communities in the DMV area and forwarding its love. He looks forward to welcome y’all!