Envisioning Collective Liberation

Yu Gwan-sun took an active part in the March 1, 1919, independence movement against Japanese colonial rule in Korea. Dying in prison at 17, she became a national hero. Credit: NY Times

In August, KQTxNYC hosted “Together Apart: A Reflection Space on Reunification, Independence, and Liberation”

Honoring Past Liberation Struggles 

August 15th, marked the National Liberation Day of Korea from Japan's occupation (1884-1945). In South Korea it is known as Gwangbokjeol (광복절, "The Day the Light Returned"). In North Korea it is known as Chogukhaebangŭi nal (조국해방의 날;  Liberation of the Fatherland Day). It is notable for being the only Korean public holiday celebrated by both South Korea and North Korea.

Last month, Olivia Ahn (KQTxNYC), a third-generation Korean and Chinese American community-based care practitioner, created and facilitated Together Apart: A Reflection Space on Reunification, Independence, and Liberation in observance of the 75th National Liberation Day of Korea. Participants from all over the globe dialed in to unpack the meaning of this day together, and to envision: “What would a liberated Korea look like to you?”

Image: A participant led google slide from "Together Apart: A Reflection Space on Reunification, Independence, and Liberation in observance of the 75th National Liberation Day of Korea." The round taegukgi symbols are an indicator of collective resonance.

To provide context and grounding, Olivia shared a comprehensive history of Korea's colonization and the hard-fought journey towards liberation. They acknowledged the many independence fighters and activists who made this movement possible, including their kin and great uncle, Ahn Jung-geun, and the fierce 17-year-old independence activist, Yu Gwan-sun.

As the space came to a close, there was time for participants to remember their own kin, their own chosen family, and ancestors in a digital altar space. For those who were not able to attend, Olivia has generously provided a simple way for you to prepare a remembrance space of your own at home: 

  • Name and honor any ancestors, movement ancestors, or ancestral kindred who have inspired you and who you are grateful for in your Korean Queer Trans experience, lineage, and/or as an indigenous, diasporic person of Korea. (Note: They do not necessarily have to be blood-related to you or of Korean descent).

  • If you are so moved, you may simply hold space for them in your heart and spirit, or set an offering in their name at your altar space today (i.e., a piece of fruit, a sweet, a lit incense or candle, a love letter).

"When I ask these questions about the reunification and liberation of Korea, I turn to ancestors that I am spiritually bound through relation and non-relation by blood, heritage, and lineage. Today on Gwangbokjeol 광복절, do not just celebrate our liberation from Japan that was merely short-lived, but also deeply acknowledge and fight for the liberation that is still due unto us."

- Olivia Ahn, 안근생

A Step Toward Liberation Today: Preparing for the November Elections

In two months, we face one of the most important elections in our lives. The November 3 US elections will determine how queer/trans Koreans, our families, and our allies may survive the COVID-19 pandemic and how we will have access to immigration, jobs, health care, trans and queer rights, and safety in our communities. 

We encourage you to learn your voting rights, get involved, and support others in accessing voting options, especially as mail-in ballots may become available a safer option in your area. Please read the options below. Register to vote! 

  • National Mail Voter Registration Form -- English 

  • 전국 우편 유권자 등록 양식 -- Korean 

Key dates to remember 

  • Sept 24: National Voter Registration Day 

  • Oct 5: Last day to register to vote in most battleground states (GA, FL, TX) 

  • Nov 3: Election Day 

Voting by Mail 

  • NYT: Will you have enough time to vote by mail in your state? 

Get involved 

  • Ready to do more? Help reach key voters through outreach like phone banking and text messaging with like-minded people. Sign up with Seed the Vote.

Reading Recommendations

Many of us have been spending our time sheltering in place getting lost in a book. Here are two exceptional recommendations for your next read. Interested in discussing more? Check out the #reading-recs channel on the KQTx Slack!

Chuseok: Celebration of Harvest and Abundance

Talchum (탈춤) or t'alch'um could be characterized as a Korean dance performed while wearing a mask, mimicry, miming, speaking and even sometimes singing.

One of Korea’s three major holidays, Chu-seok is the 8th month of the lunar year and is also called "hangawi". In the past, families would gather together to enjoy time together and give thanks for a bountiful harvest. Traditional celebrations such traditional folk games such as samulnori (traditional percussion quartet), talchum (mask dance), ganggangsullae (Korean circle dance), and ssireum (traditional Korean wrestling) alongside special foods like songpyeon, a traditional rice cake made with finely ground new rice and filled with sesame seeds, chestnuts, or red bean, are commonly associated with this holiday. Other traditions include visiting ancestors’ graves and holding charye (memorial services) for them. Recently, a modern tradition of gift giving has become popular in Korea as well, echoing the traditions of appreciation for those around you.

How will you celebrate and appreciate Chuseok this year?

Share with us for our next newsletter!

Calls to Action

Join the national Slack

Donate! Support KQTx National Network

Image: Dave Young Kim, Mural, “Ohgane”

An Invitation to Define and Practice Jeong (정)

As the uprisings continue to reverberate, and the pandemic unfurls a second wave, many of us are taking the time to absorb the learnings of these past few months, digging deeper into the question of, “Where do we go from here?”

Last month, KQTs from many different regions joined a peer-led discussion hosted by KQTxNYC, facilitated with guest, Kristine Chong (MDiv), to explore the concept of, "Jeong," an often unspoken, uniquely Korean form of love, and solidarity. 

Participants each shared their definitions and experiences of jeong: from the sensory (sharing food) to the communal (bondage through struggle). They discussed the profound ways in which jeong has the potential to powerfully and lovingly connect us: to ourselves, and each other in solidarity.

So, what is jeong exactly, and how might we apply it to our movements today?

The discussion surfaced an opportunity: jeong isn't just a resource we merely have as Korean Queer Trans people of the diaspora, but rather, it’s an energetic power we have a responsibility to wield. 

Interested in exploring how you can wield jeong for yourself?

Try this self-jeong practice at home.

“The active calling of jeong, through the recognition of the self in the other, is a definite form of collaborative compassion. This collaboration with compassion is not one that seeks to maintain the status quo or to perpetuate oppression. Rather, such collaboration, born out of connectedness, seeks to work towards emancipatory praxis for all.”

- Wonhee Anne Joh

Recommendations from the KQTx Team

Many of us have been spending our time sheltering in place getting lost in a book. Here are two exceptional recommendations for your next read. Interested in discussing more? Check out the #reading-recs channel on the KQTx Slack!

An Invitation to Take Up Space: Contribute To Our Next Newsletter!

Do you have a burning to express yourself, but are lacking a forum to show off? We want to hear from you!

The KQTx newsletter team is currently soliciting content for a future newsletter. We’re looking for works of art, poetry, short stories, and more to include in our monthly digest of content. At present, there are no criteria other than it should be authored by a self-identified member of the KQTx community. To submit, please complete this form.

Finding Each Other: Building Legacies of Belonging

In April 2018, KQTcon became the first national gathering of Queer and Trans people of Korean descent (KQT) in the US, bringing together 200 KQTs and allies. Today, over two years later, a vibrant network of KQT groups and individuals have emerged—prompting our shift to rename KQTcon as the KQTx National Network.

Our KQTx family has activated especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and in solidarity with movements for Black lives. We are excited that our KQT Slack community has grown to 150 people, nearly as many people as there were at KQTcon, and many who were not able to attend in 2018! So, we are re-publishing a retrospective piece from KQTcon as a reminder of the work we are inspired to do. Below, we share highlights of KQTcon’s keynote speech: an unforgettable call to love and belonging by Mia Mingus, writer, educator, and community organizer for disability justice and transformative justice. 

“I think about what it means for those of us who continue to show up for this thing that we call “queer Korean community.” Even through our heartbreak and disappointments, even through our hesitations and fear. This is the kind of love and desire that I want us to continue to practice. This is the kind of hope that I want us to live into and pass onto the next generation of queer and trans Koreans who will struggle to find their place and wonder if they belong.”

Wherever you may be on your journey in navigating kinship and belonging with Korean Queer Trans community, we hope our network of resources and community spaces continue to be radically welcoming places for you to find each other and belong. Thank you for showing up with us. 

Read and listen to Mia Mingus’ full keynote presentation.

Upcoming Events

We're looking forward to seeing folx at a number of partner and KQT-led virtual events in August!

  • August 8 - KQT-DC hosts Game Night!  Join us for a virtual game night where we will play skribbl, a free online picture-drawing game! 🎨✏️

  • August 17 - NQAPIA, QTAPIA Healers Meetup This will be a space for Queer & Trans API Healers to gather and be in space and conversation with other healers.

  • August 19 - NQAPIA, Political Education: Power Mapping In this workshop you will learn how to identify where power sits in any given system and how to use this information to build your organizing capacity.

Welcoming KQTx National Network's Inaugural 2020 Steering Committee

On June 17, KQTx’s Steering Committee met for the first time: nine leaders from Atlanta, Chicago, DC, NYC, and Oakland began a six-month term to build the power of the KQTx national network.

This Steering Committee continues the work of the Interim Leadership which began in Oct 2019 and served for six months. 

To learn more about our new leadership and our past leadership, please visit

Resourcing the Movement for Black Lives

Over 26 million people in the United States alone have participated in demonstrations and uprisings since the beginning of June. We are amidst the largest movement in the history of the United States and witnessing the movement for Black lives spark powerful action in many other parts of the world, including South Korea. 

KQTs from all over have been creating and sharing valuable resources to support one another in our movement building and solidarity work:

Do you have more resources you can share? Are you in need of support from other KQTs? Join us on the #kqts-for-black-lives channel on Slack as we continue to support one another.

“To know our roots is to know our power. A People united will not be divided.” - Isabel Kang, Korean Resource Center

Upcoming Events

We're looking forward to seeing folx at a number of KQT-led virtual events in July!

View the Events Calendar Stay Connected

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle

© 2020 by KQTx National Network