Pahichan/April 16. The second Milestone Awards & Diversity Leadership Forum held on April 15, 2015 has announced the final award recipients Entrepreneur of The Year went to Geng Le, a former Chinese policeman who founded the largest LGBT enterprise in China and lured in wide-spread press interest with his company being the first LGBT company receiving mainstream capital investments; Hero of The Year was awarded to Malaysian’s transgender activist Nisha Ayub, who were thrown into the prison before but won a landmark bid to overturn an Islamic anti cross-dressing law in the conservative Muslim-majority nation.
Role Model of The Year went to Taiwanese physical-disabled gay man Vincent Huang, who launched a controversial program called “hand-job angels” which offers free hand-jobs for physically disabled gay men. Icon of The Year went to Taiwanese pop icon Jolin Tsai, who released her latest music video So What We Are Different (Song title: Bu Yi Yang You Zeng Yang last year telling a touching life and death story of a lesbian couple with herself starring in with co-star Ruby Lin.
It gained wide-spread press interest across the Chinese community and raised tremendous social awareness on legal issues. Visual Inspiration of The Year went to Fan Po Po, a Chinese gay filmmaker and director of Beijing Queer Film Festival whose latest LGBT documentary film Mama Rainbow was banned in China. Taiwanese activist William Shen who founded Taiwan Tongzhi (in Chinese as “gay”) Hotline Association received the award for Community Leader of The Year. He helped publish a book with portrait body images of the elderly gay men and helped lift an international migrant ban on HIV foreign workers in early 2015.
The corporate category include: Diversity Champion of The Year for IBM; China’s Taobao/Alibaba gave way to Thailand’s pro-LGBT TV Networks Voice TV for Outstanding Brand of The Year; Star Employer of The Year went to Thailand’s Apple Model Management, which hires transgender models and help them become a supermodel; Last but not least, Barclays Spectrum Singapore won the award for Employee Network Group Of The Year.
The results were announced after having received more than 50 nominations from 100 members of the judging panel who come from 11 Asian countries. China’s Wei Ting Ting, a finalist under Hero of The Year who’s arrested by the Chinese government was not chosen as the award recipient. ALMA Awards & Forum (in short) 2015 was forced to move to Bangkok this year after the organizer ELEMENT BIZ, a sub-publication under Singapore’s online gay magazine ELEMEMT Magazine faced a number of challenges back in its home-grown country.
It is also co-organized together with ILGA Asia. The Awards Ceremony this year welcomed more than 100 guests with keynote speakers from IBM, BP etc. Sponsors include Hendricks, Sofitel So, Blued etc. The headline sponsor for ALMA Awards’ Forum is IBM, recognized as a global leader for driving diversity and inclusion and LGBT programs globally.