KQTx Guiding Principles
Last revised December, 13, 2021, KQTx SC 2 Guiding Principles Working Group
What are the 10 Guiding Principles?
These 10 Guiding Principles of KQTx National Network are how we aspire to transform and move the Korean Queer Trans Community, so that we are co-grounded in gender and racial justice, transformation, growth, care, and connection.
We share these Principles with the belief that KQTx is not a one-size-fits-all model and that these 10 Guiding Principles may look different in practice from group to group, depending on many variables, contexts, and nuances.
Consider these 10 Guiding Principles a starting point to build on.
1. We are redefining Koreanness
We acknowledge that to be part of the Korean diaspora is to be a part of a deeply complex narrative and history. We reject the notion of a singular experience of Koreanness and instead we’re amplifying the beautifully diverse ways members of the KQT community are connecting and caring for their identities.
3. We center the most impacted
We believe transformation and liberation is possible when the people most impacted by issues have the space, resources, and support it takes to lead. Black, trans, women, femmes, disabled, neurodivergent, adoptees, sex workers, working-class, undocumented KQTs, and more. We amplify the voices and needs of identities within the KQT community who are systemically and intentionally situated at the center of oppression and have historically been made invisible.
*This concept draws inspiration from Black feminist theory and specifically the Combahee River Collective who state, “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” This commitment has been adopted by Black Lives Matter and other movements for justice.
5. We are abolitionists
We honor the long history of abolitionist struggle, and we join in the worldwide efforts to divest from prisons, the military, the police, ICE, and other institutions who have historically criminalized the survival of queer trans Black Indigenous people of color. We strive to practice everyday abolition by divesting in the carceral culture that normalizes punishment and cancel culture over transformation and restoration. We invest in the safety and thriving of our communities, building up life-affirming systems and practices that reduce, prevent, and better address harm.
7. We invest in our rest and healing
We’re unlearning the capitalist value of constant production, and committing to normalizing rest and healing in its place. We’re looking to cultivate and nurture ways of accessing rest, play, pleasure, nourishment more widely. We’re choosing to build relationships rooted in each other's care, well-being, healing, and joy.
9. We support Indigenous sovereignty
We acknowledge as Koreans of the diaspora that we too are visitors on stolen land. We support Indigenous sovereignty and the land-back movement. We believe as a national network of KQTs living in North America, we have the responsibility of learning more about the land we each occupy, about the history of our own colonization and people’s suffering, and to commit to real actions we can take to honor and justly transition land back to its original stewards and caretakers.
2. We practice radical welcome
We welcome all who identify as queer, trans, and of Korean descent to join us in dreaming and building for our community. We also seek to include those who have been excluded from identifying as, belonging to, and in community with KQTs. We envision a world where all KQTs are sustained and thriving, living with care and connection, creating safety, healing, and home with one another.
4. We are anti-racist
We commit to our personal and collective growth. We are committed to uprooting anti-Blackness, colorism, and white supremacy in our communities, both structurally and in our interpersonal relationships. We commit to nurturing one another in healing and transforming the harmful and deadly ways white supremacy shows up and oppresses us all.
6. We seek True Korean Peace
We’re listening for the many imperceptible and overt ways the never-ending Korean war continues to impact our lives. As KQTs who challenge the definitions of normalcy through our very existence, we embrace the unique and powerful role we can play in shifting the common sense of our community towards justice and peace. We seek to be a part of a people’s history that meaningfully adds to the story of the Korean struggle for liberation, linking it to the struggles of movements for justice and peace everywhere.
8. We respect and honor each other
We’re holding and practicing the belief that we are all worthy of trust, care, and respect. Everyone has a role to play in our collective liberation and we will treat one another with the respect, dignity, and honor that we all inherently deserve.
10. We build for future generations
We acknowledge that we come from a long legacy of queer and trans people of Korean descent, many of whom we may not know by name. In honoring their legacy, we commit to building with, by, and for KQT Youth and building sustainable systems and practices that will enable a safer, more liberating world for ourselves, and for future generations of KQTs.
How were these principles created?
These Principles were developed from numerous conversations with many KQTs over the past few years.
We would like to acknowledge the labor, care, and knowledge of the following people who helped to shape these principles:
Clara Lee / 이 현정
Dahn Bi Lee-Hong
Jeffrey Lee Miranda
kristine hyunkyong chong
Patrick G. Lee
Pauline Heejin Kim
tae min suh
We envision these principles evolving and adapting over time and we invite members of our community to help make knowledge of our experiences together by offering us constructive feedback.