Anan Bouapha is an internationally renowned human rights leader, and the founder of Laos’ first LGBTQI rights organisation. As founder of Proud To Be Us Laos, Anan is dedicated to promoting equal rights for people within sexual and gender diversity communities. He is referred by the HuffingtonPost as the leader of the country’s nascent LGBTQI movement. He is working to integrate LGBTQI rights into national development, tackling the cultural, legal and normative barriers facing the community. His work started in HIV/AIDS prevention, and has evolved to encompass broad political and policy advocacy across the field of inclusive development, leveraging international human rights frameworks. He brings the concept of diversity and inclusion at the workplace and continues raising awareness about this in Laos. Several major employers such as state enterprises, corporates, private enterprises collaborate and promote this concept alongside with his organisation’s advocacy campaign. Because of this, Proud To Be Us Laos was ranked in the Top 9 World LGBT Change Heroes by The Guardian.
Anan’s passion for LGBTQI rights has seen him travel to the USA, Paris and London, to undertake studies and immerse himself in new approaches. In 2014 he received a prestigious Australia Awards Fellowship to study Social Health and Policy at UNSW, where he gained valuable insights and relationships that continue to shape his work in Laos. Anan was also awarded the UK’s most prestigious bursary “Chevening” supported by the Foreign and the Commonwealth Office, to complete a Master degree programme in Development & Human Rights at Goldsmiths, University of London. In 2017, he was also awarded the Bourses du Gouvernement Français by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to pursue the second Master in Human Rights & Humanitarian Action at France’s prestigious Paris Institute of Political Studies.
Anan continues to work with policy makers, government leaders, universities and youth groups through Laos, to champion further legislation and policies to protect LGBTQI people in Laos.