The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) is a worldwide federation of organisations committed to equal human rights for LGBTI people and their liberation from all forms of discrimination. Founded in 1978, it enjoys consultative status at the United Nations, where it speaks and lobbies on behalf of almost 1,200 member organisations from 131 countries. ILGA has regional bodies in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbeans, North America, and Oceania.
The Asia Region was first established at a regional conference in Mumbai in 2002. ILGA Asia Regional Conference is the highest level decision making body of ILGA Asia, taking place every other year, alternating with the ILGA World Conference. One of the main aims of establishing a regional board is to create opportunities for activists in Asia to network, pool their resources and benefit from the experiences of others who face the same challenges in their own countries.
In the past, there were numerous attempts to organize Asia regional ILGA events. Some of the first were the three small regional meetings organized by Teishiro Minami from Japan after he had attended the ILGA World Conference in Stockholm. The Asian Lesbian Network was formed in 1986 at the International Lesbian Information Service conference in Geneva. It went on to hold four conferences in Asia – Bangkok in 1991, Japan in 1993, Taiwan in 1995 and Manila in 1998.
The first ILGA Asia Regional Conference was held in Mumbai in 2002, attended by 80 individuals. In 2004, the female co-secretary of ILGA World at the time, Anna Leah Sarabia from the Philippines, organized a small ILGA Asia Regional Conference in Cebu, during which Myo Min (from Myanmar, based in Thailand) and Myra Ofreneo (the Philippines) were chosen as the Asian representatives to the ILGA World board.
The next ILGA Asia Regional Conference was organized in Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2008 by Myo Min and Myra Ofreneo, with the support from two gay-run HIV/AIDS organizations, M-Plus based in Chiang Mai and Rainbow Sky Association from Bangkok. A hundred and twenty delegates attended the conference and for the first time, elected a board. They decided to establish an office in Hong Kong.
The 2010 ILGA Asia Regional Conference in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, was cancelled after delegates were already in the city, in the face of threats from the Islamic Defenders Front and other opponents. As the result, there was no election held that year.
The next ILGA Asia Regional Conference was organized by M-Plus and Rainbow Sky Association Thailand in Bangkok from 29-31 March 2013. The theme “Phoenix Rising” symbolized the revival of ILGA Asia after the Surabaya incident. A new board was elected. Delegates came from 22 countries with 25 new faces from Myanmar. The first ILGA Asia office was established in Hong Kong in 2014, with the support from Chinese Lala Alliance.
In 2015, the 6th ILGA Asia Regional Conference was held in Taipei from 28- 31 November, where 6 new members were elected to the regional board, representing East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia. For the first time there was an intersex person in the board. There was no candidate from West Asia.
At the conference, CamASEAN bid to organize the next ILGA Asia conference in Cambodia in 2017 in collaboration with Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK). By the beginning of 2017, CamASEAN withdrew and upon consultation with ILGA Asia Executive Board, RoCK became the host of the conference.