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ASIA - Dec 27, 2005

For 6 years the annual Utopia Awards, Asia's leading gay human rights commendations, have been recognizing individuals and organizations that have contributed to improving the quality of life for the gay, lesbian, and transgendered communities in Asia.

Previous honorees have included Thai Senator Jon Ungpakorn; Taiwan lesbian activist, Wang Ping; Hong Kong gay activist Chung To; Singaporean gay activist Alex Au; transgender Thai kick boxer, Parinya Jaroenphon; Nepal's Blue Diamond Society; Malaysia's PT Foundation; Indonesian gay activist Dede Oetomo; and ProGay of the Philippines.

Two outstanding individuals have been selected for the honor in 2005:

The first Utopia Award for 2005 recognizes Rosanna Flamer-Caldera who has made a significant impact in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer advocacy in Sri Lanka, the Asian region, and internationally. Rosanna, as an open lesbian and founding member of Women's Support Group (1999) and Equal Ground (2004), has championed homosexual issues in the general public through TV, radio and print media, challenging the human rights community to expand their scope to include LGBT concerns. In her capacity as the International Lesbian and Gay Association representative for Asian females, Rosanna was also instrumental in organizing the ILGA-Asia Regional Conference in Mumbai, India (2002).

The second Utopia Award for 2005 honors Dr Peter Jackson for his landmark publications and his contributions towards the development of queer studies in the region. A Senior Fellow in Thai History in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University in Canberra, Dr Jackson specializes in the cultural history of modern Thailand. As an author or co-editor his books have included such titles as "Lady Boys, Tom Boys, Rent Boys: Male and Female Homosexualities in Contemporary Thailand" and "Gay and Lesbian Asia: Identity, Community, Culture". In 2001 he co-founded AsiaPacifiQueer, an Australia-based network of scholars researching homosexuality and transgenderism. He was also instrumental in organizing Sexualities, Genders and Rights in Asia: First International Conference of Asian Queer Studies in Bangkok in July, 2005.

Utopia Awards are presented each year to men and women whose pioneering work and lives have forwarded the cause of dignity and a better life for members of the region's gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered communities.

Utopia was founded in 1994 with the goal of providing positive social alternatives for Asia's gay and lesbian communities. The Utopia-Asia.com website, the Internet's most respected resource for gay and lesbian Asia, is celebrating 10 years of community service, from its online debut on Dec 13, 1995. Utopia also publishes landmark printed guidebooks to gay life in the region, including the Utopia Guide to 45 cities in China, and major cities in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

For more information on past Utopia Award winners, please click here.

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