the apa women leader spotlights: jas (tram) nguyen

15 Days. 15 APA Women. 15th Anniversary. To celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, we're partnering up with NAPAWF and Hyphen to spotlight 15 Women Warriors for 15 days, sponsored by 15 hosts. Meet today's spotlight:

Jas (Tram) Nguyen
Nominated by Vinh Kim Vu.

Describe your name.
Jas. I chose this name for myself. Jas has no gender. When someone look at the name they will question "Is Jas a man or a woman?" Does it matter? If it does, "I will be a man when a woman need protection. I will be a woman when a woman need to be understood."

How do you identify?

Your passion issues?
Poverty and woman's equality. A few sentences can't describe the passion inside my heart. However, one word can conclude it all: Love. Love for those who unable to raise their voice.

Best advice someone has ever given you?
Learn how to fall before you learn to fly.

Who's your hero?
My mother. She survived World War II and Vietnam War. She survived poverty. She raised eleven kids and supported a disable husband. She is the strongest person I’ll ever meet, the toughest person I’ve ever known. She is my everything.

Biggest lesson you've learned as an APA Woman?
I live in an environment that being an APA Woman is not marginalized, but I witness other Asian women being treated poorly in other parts of the world.

What advice would you give to other Asian Pacific American women?
Raise your voice, others will hear you.

Why support NAPAWF?
I support NAPAWF because NAPAWF takes action to raise awareness for woman's rights

Favorite guilty pleasure?
Stroll, I love to walk in the night. I enjoy the silence of the night and the coolness of the wind. Comedy, a laugh can get me away from work stress and kept myself balance.

Vinh says:
While only in her thirties, Trâm (Jas) Nguyen always knew her unique but difficult mission was to helping others to raise their voices for the issues they cared about. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Trâm (Jas) Nguyen came to the United States as a refugee in 1989 and resided in Mobile, Alabama since. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering University of South Alabama in 2002, Jas (Tram) Nguyen spent years working for federal government, but her heart was becoming increasingly heavy for women’s issues. Jas Nguyen became intimately aware of the Vietnamese Lesbians in Viet Nam who severely lack of resources and are in need of a lending hand to help them break through the old tradition which born and raised with them as all Asian women are. In 2005, Jas Nguyen joined website bangaivn.net administrator team to manage a Vietnamese Lesbian Forum. However, the forum activity only circulates within the online lesbian community, a closet in a closet as she recalled. In the same year, she launched Asian Labrys (AL) Forum with a mission of international alliance with other Asian groups to strengthen the Asian Lesbian communities around the world, and by working together on different projects to empower young leadership skills and sisterhoods bonding through charity programs which according to Jas Nguyen: “an initial step to touch the heart of the poverty and form a community in society. Under Jas Nguyen’s direction, Asian Labrys Forum has forever changed the cultures of silence around LGBTQ issues among the Vietnamese lesbian and transgender members in many different walk of life, particularly in Vietnam where violence against LGBT members is as high as 70% (from the Information Connecting and Sharing –Social and Environmental Research-2011). She built bridges among local governments and Asian Labrys volunteers and began to establish a network of advocates to come together to advance women’s health in Vietnam by way of providing health care insurance vouchers to women who are in the threshold of poverty. She has become a passionate and committed advocate for women and families. Jas’ efforts have earned a reputation and recognition in both the Vietnamese lesbian women in Vietnam and in many different countries. Hundreds and thousands members of Asian Labrys Forum, charity recipients, young and old, and even local Vietnamese government have stated they are lucky to have a brave young woman with a wealth of love and dedication who dares rise to that challenge.

Donate in honor of Jas and Vinh:
Support Jas and Vinh by giving to NAPAWF in their honor.

To see the rest of the 15 APA Women Leader Spotlights, go here.

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