HERO Awards 2021

Thai lawyer is honoured as Community Ally

It’s going to be an exciting night on Friday 26 November 2021, as APCOM announces the honorees for the 2021 HERO Awards. This is an annual event held by APCOM, a leading Asia Pacific HIV and LGBTQI community organisation based in Bangkok headed by The Future List 2020 honoree Midnight Poonkasetwattana. Standing for HIV, Equality and Rights, the HERO Awards acknowledges outstanding HIV and LGBT advocates and allies from across Asia and the Pacific, and raises funds to support ongoing work for HIV prevention and other health related issues, as well as human rights advocacy. 

As a result of the ongoing pandemic, the event this year will take place on a virtual platform, but still promises a fabulously fun evening of inspiration and celebration as community members and supporters pay tribute to the extraordinary contributions of individuals and organisations who have improved the lives of LGBT people and people affected by HIV throughout the Asia Pacific region. The awards cover 11 categories:

1. Business Ally

2. Covid-19 Hero

3. Community Ally

4. Community Hero

5. Community Organisation

6. Health & Wellbeing Hero

7. HIV Hero

8. Social Justice Hero

9. Transgender Hero

10. Young Achiever Award, and 

11. Shivananda Khan Award for Extraordinary Achievement

Among the three honorees already unveiled for the Community Ally Category is Thailand’s Monrawee Ampolpittayanant or Lynn, a Thai-American qualified lawyer and public policy professional with over 12 years of experience where she has spent the last 6 years leading public policy and public affairs efforts at Twitter. Her role is to act as Twitter’s primary ambassador to government policymakers, regulators, and civil society groups on public policy issues. She has served policy makers, governments, private companies and non-profit organizations in Asia and the Pacific, especially in Southeast Asia with her expertise in solving complex laws and navigating difficult policy issues at the intersection of business, technology, and human rights so that her stakeholders can overcome their challenges and make a positive impact on society.

She said, “With repressive regimes around the world using shutdowns, and draconian legal frameworks to stifle online freedoms, the norms that inform new legislation have never been more important.”

This year’s co-presenters are Joe Chonlawit from Voice TV, and Sira Siravitch, Bangkok’s Diva Queen from Drag Race Thailand, who will give a peek at what’s installed for PRIDE Thailand 2022. There will be a special fashion show designed by FASH CCI of Srinakharinwirot University and modeled by community partners and influencers, under the theme “step through crisis”. 

Drag Queens M Stranger of Stranger Bar, and Petchara from Drag Race Thailand will also spice up the event. Ben Chalatit, Thailand’s gay icon and UNAIDS National Goodwill Ambassador for Thailand will also give a special performance!

This should serve to highlight the positive impact of the LGBTI community, not only regionally but globally. Thailand’s Professor Emeritus Vitit Muntarbhorn, the 2020 recipient of the Shivananda Khan Award for Extraordinary Achievement, couldn’t have said it better. 

“I consider myself to be a simple ‘volunteer’ helping to promote and protect human rights, especially on LGBTI issues.  Currently, in addition to the issue of  the civil partnership bill in Thailand, we should also propel a law on gender identity recognition, a matter which I aim to raise constantly.”

To join the live streaming event tonight, register at

  • Pictures courtesy of APCOM