LGBTQ+
The Journalist Training Programme of 2022 has begun!

Get to know our eight selected journalists, our award-winning trainer, and more on our programme
Journalist Training Programme

In the back row from left to right: Namwan Wongsamuth (Programme Lead), Yamin Oo, Mavic Conde, Rose Skelton (Workshop Lead), Vanessa Steinmetz (FNF Regional Project Coordinator), Apple “Ally” Allison, Jan Coyco. 

In the front row from left to right: Le Tung & Panha “Raki” Eay

With the FNF Journalist Training Program, our goal is to support young journalists from Southeast and East Asia to conduct investigative research into an often-overlooked topic that prevails within the region. This year, FNF is supporting eight young international participants from the Philippines, Myanmar and Vietnam to publish an article exploring the deep-rooted discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community in the region.

To give our journalist a head start, we conducted a two-day face-to-face workshop in Bangkok by the award-wining journalist Rose Skelton The two-day workshop helped our journalist to explore best practices on how to formulate a hypothesis, build a strong research plan, evaluate sources, and present data and findings. FNF has also teamed up with (Namwan) Nanchanok Wongsamuth who has been a journalist for more than 13 years in Thailand. She has worked with the Bangkok Post, BBC Thai Service and the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Meet Rose Skelton

Rose Skelton is a reporter, editor and writer from Scotland. She has worked for the Guardian, the Sunday Times, the BBC, Reuters, and was a Bloomberg News correspondent in West Africa for seven years. She trains investigative reporters and is the co-founder of Field Studio, bringing the tools of storytelling to academic writing.

Q: Why do you think it is important to look into the challenges faced by the LGBTQ communities in SEEA?

As an investigative reporter, I believe that all subjects are important and those that receive less light are even more important. The lives of LGBTQ+ people are often hidden because it is difficult to live those lives in most places, even where it is supposedly culturally accepted. It is our job as reporters to shed light on things that are hidden or that people choose not to see, to bring understanding and perspective to stories of lives that intersect with complex socio-political, environmental, economic, and religious realities. As a queer person, I want these stories to be told safely, thoroughly, and with passion.

RoseSkelton

Meet Our Journalists!

Our programme received a lot of interest and applicants. However, through our rigorous selection process we have selected our best eight journalist to undergo a three-month long journey to research a story behind the headlines of various aspects of queer life.

Le Tung and Ha Dao, Vietnam

The team from Vietnam will be exploring: In Vietnam's public offices, a unique kind of discrimination towards queer workers remains. How is it affecting the strength of the public sector?

Le Tung says as a queer, young professional who has entered and exited several workplaces in his budding career

I found myself worn out, yet also fascinated by the power dynamics in the white-collar office setting. I resonate with the stories of other queer workers who had to hide their identity and endured hostile situations in order to get by, as I have been there myself.

Le Tung
Le Tung

My partner Tung Le and I applied to FNF's training program because it's one of the rare opportunities where emerging reporters have the luxury of resources, time and mentorship to work on a story. This year's program has an LGBT focus and that's even rarer. We reckon that it's the perfect time to get started on the story of LGBT people in the workplace, specifically in Vietnam's public office. It's an underreported angle while we know for a fact that homophobia is still a genuine issue albeit existing in subtle forms.

Ha Dao
Ha Dao

Panha “Raki” Eay, Cambodia,

will be exploring the topic: Underprivileged Cambodian Transwomen going through unsafe sexual reassignment surgery are facing health consequences as the country banned genital surgery.

 

I found this program as a golden ticket to my future self especially when it comes to starting my early career path. A chance to get mentor and guide through is priceless as my article in this program will be my first publication. After this program, I hope to be able to confidently call myself as a journalist.

Panha
Panha “Raki” Eay

Yamin Oo, Myanmar,

will be writing about: How LGBT+ people are being tortured and sexual harassment in interrogation camps.

LGBTQ+ people are the people around meI am attending this program because I want people to know about the situation they are facing now. LGBTQ+ people are discriminated badly in Myanmar. It is important that we understand what kind of discrimination they are facing. I like to expose their problems hoping this is can help reduce discrimination in the dark.

Yamin
Yamin Oo

Mavic Conde and Apple “Ally” Allison, Philippines,

Will be exploring Philippine government discriminating LGBTQIA people from disaster response is causing unequal access to social and economic services.

I applied because I have an unfinished story about the LGBTQ+ and disaster response, so this was the right opportunity to pursue the story.

MavicConde
Mavic Conde

Collaborating with Mavic on this story is also part of my personal commitment to uphold the Sustainable Development Goal 17 - partnership for the goal and just like what my nickname ‘Ally’ means, I see myself an ally, a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community in pushing for their civil rights to be recognized and be given equal access to economic and social benefits. My personal mission is to accelerate inclusivity and diversity in our local communities through powerful stories.

Ally
Apple “Ally” Allison

Jan Coyco and Cristina Chi, Philippines,

will be exploring Queer men perpetrate violence against queer women in Manila recreational spaces that brand themselves as LGBTQIA+-friendly, limiting women’s already scant options to find queer solidarity outside restrictive formal settings.

Telling underreported stories is always an incredible challenge, one that constantly requires us to open our minds and expand our skill sets. However, it is an endeavour worth pursuing if it means helping communities achieve social justice in one way or another. That's why I'm so grateful for this opportunity to receive generous mentorship, training and support as Chi and I report on the experiences of queer women.

Cristina and Jan
Jan Coyco

I always thought that writing for and about queer people required a little rebellion from the status quo — in the sense that when you intentionally set out to champion a minority group in your work, you want to do their story justice. This is why when I encounter a well-written and well-researched story about queer people, I feel grateful for the journalist(s) who got it right. Because many others have already gotten it, wrong. This is especially true for queer women who often endure the most of both homophobia and misogyny. I also see gender and sexuality as one of the most valuable dimensions in a person’s life. Sometimes it shapes their life trajectory. That is important for me to remember in my work as a journalist.

Cristina Chi

We would like to wish all our participants (Apple Allison, Mavic Conde, Cristina Chi, Jan Cuyco, Yamin Oo, Le Tung, Ha Dao, and Panha Eay) best of luck.

A look back: The 2021 FNF SEEA Journalist Training Programme

If you would like to see stories which came out of our last year’s journalist-training programme in 2021 you can view them here: