Transgender activist Nisha Ayub was named Hero of the Year at the second Asia LGBT Milestone Awards & Diversity Leadership Forum (ALMA) on Wednesday (15 April) night in Bangkok.
The Malaysian, who was thrown into prison for being trans, won a landmark case to overturn an Islamic anti-cross-dressing law in the Muslim-majority country.
Entrepreneur of The Year went to Geng Le, a former policeman who made headlines the world over when his gay dating app Blued received US$30 million in mainstream capital investment.
Role Model of The Year went to Taiwan’s Vincent Huang, who launched the controversial ‘hand-job angels’ progam, which offers free hand-jobs for physically disabled gay men.
Taiwan’s queen of pop, Jolin Tsai, was named Icon of The Year. In her latest album Play, she pushed two music videos supporting the LGBTI community – one about a lesbian marriage and another promoting gender diversity.
Visual Inspiration of The Year went to Fan Popo, a filmmaker and director of the Beijing Queer Film Festival, whose latest documentary Mama Rainbow was banned in China.
William Shen, the founder of Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association, received the award for Community Leader of The Year. He helped publish a book of portraits of elderly gay men and helped lift an international migrant ban on HIV-positive foreign workers in early 2015.
In the corporate categories, Diversity Champion of The Year went to IBM.
China’s Taobao/Alibaba lost out to Thailand’s pro-LGBT Voice TV for Outstanding Brand of The Year. And Star Employer of The Year went to Thailand’s Apple Model Management for launching the world’s first transgender division.
Barclays Spectrum Singapore won the award for Employee Network Group Of The Year.
More than 50 were nominated by the 100 members of the judging panel from 11 Asian countries.
The ALMA awards were forced to move to Bangkok this year after the organizer ELEMENT magazine faced a number of challenges back in its home country of Singapore.
View the full list of finalists here.
Gay Star News is a media partner of the awards.