Dari Project facilitates and speaks at a panel titled “LGBT Storytelling to Create Change” at the 30th annual East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) conference at Cornell University on Saturday, February 16, 2008.

The telling of personal stories and experiences is often the most powerful way to illustrate the impact that social issues have on the lives of real people. This panel discussion will explore different ways of using personal story telling to create change in Asian American communities, specifically around issues related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Asian Americans. Panelists will be speaking from diverse perspectives on the uses of personal storytelling in a range of contexts, including literary fiction and nonfiction, media work, and community-based activism.

Special props to community allies Weiben Wang, Terrence Gong and Daniel Ho from GAPIMNY and Downetime for their amazing session “Queer Asian/Asian American Youth East Coast Roundtable Discussion,” as well as for sharing their photos from ECAASU.

(Note: some speakers did not appear due to illness and cancellations)

Alexander Chee is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, an NEA Fellowship in Fiction, fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and currently is the Visiting Writer at Amherst College. He is the author of Edinburgh (Picador, 2002) and his second novel, The Queen of the Night, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin in 2008.

Petrus Liu is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Cornell University, specializing in German, Chinese, and Latin literature and critical theory. He has published articles on queer Marxism, gender and the sentimental novel, and inter-Asian feminism. He is the co-editor of Beyond the Strai(gh)ts: Transnationalism and Queer Chinese Politics.

Christopher Daehan Chung is a queer Korean-American native to the New York area. Raised on Staten Island, he is currently a resident of the Bronx, where he recently graduated from Fordham University. Since then he has been working for APICHA (Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS) as the Program Assistant. Chris is also a Poongmul/Samulnori percussionist and uses this art form to share his culture with the NYC community.

Andy Marra is the Asian-Pacific Islander Media Strategist for GLAAD. She tracks and analyzes the media covering the API lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, works to increase visibility of the community in the media and builds the capacity of API LGBT organizations and advocates in telling their stories and sharing their images with the media. Marra currently serves as a trustee for the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA) and was the past Board President for the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). Marra is a past recipient of the GLSEN National Pathfinder Award, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Creating Change Award, the Colin Higgins Foundation Courage Award, and was profiled as a future LGBT leader to know by The Advocate.

Un Jung Lim is a lesbian/queer Korean American born in South Korea and raised by her grandparents in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. Un Jung serves on the coordinating committee of The Dari Project and has been a steering committee member for Q-Wave, a social and political group that promotes visibility, community and support for women and transgender people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the New York City area. Un Jung graduated from Mount Holyoke College and has worked at the Asian and Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS and the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. Un Jung lives in New York City with her chihuahua, Cherri, and is now pursuing a Masters degree at the Hunter College School of Social Work.