[UPDATE, Dec 12] Sundance Asia has cancelled its shows on January 1 and 2, but has announced it’s pulling all the stops with its Dec 31 event with a performance by diva Deborah Cox. DJs Tony Moran, Danny Verde and Preeda Tony are confirmed to spin for the night in Bangkok. Tickets are still available from the event’s website.
[Original post on Sep 7]
What was an innocent pool party with 250 attendees in 2012 has turned into a four-year New Year’s Eve affair in the heart of Bangkok.
But, a mindless event it is not. Patrick Walsh started Sundance Asia with proceeds going to B-Change Foundation, a social enterprise headed by founder Laurindo Garcia that seeks to use technology to connect and provide support and advocacy services for young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their allies across Asia.
The first event at Sofitel So Bangkok’s The Water Club raised US$2,000. In three years, the event has raised over US$12,000 for B-Change and other charity partners including Bangkok-based The POZ Home and The HIV Foundation Thailand that seek to advocate the health of minorities, especially those living with HIV in the Asia-Pacific.
This December, Sundance Asia’s fourth anniversary is its biggest yet, with three parties and nine international DJs from Dec 31 to Jan 2, 2016 at a new location: the Zen Event Gallery on the eighth floor of CentralWorld.
Expect Singapore’s Louis T to vie for your right to party alongside DJs Tony Moran, Eddie Martinez and Danny Verde. Organisers expect the event to draw up to 1,800 revellers from countries such as Brussels, Taiwan and Singapore.
Sundance Asia’s fourth soiree comes at a crossroads in LGBT rights in the Asia-Pacific region. In the hub of acceptance, Bangkok’s waves of pride have reverberated as one of Asia’s most tolerant countries when it comes to homosexuality. The decriminalisation of sodomy and discrimination among LGBTs are steps in this direction.
However, contradictions are aplenty in the Land of Smiles. Thailand’s Tourism Authority actively promotes the country as a safe haven for LGBT travellers, but workplace equality, lack of sex education and the tenet of conforming to societal norms to achieve filial ties continue to plague the country. An active three-year joint analysis project commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme and the United States Agency for International Development, “Being LGBT in Asia“, is seeking to find answers to long-standing questions.
And maybe in a country as progressive as Bangkok, this part of Asia could be the conduit for better things to come.