Miami Q&A's mission is to provide a safe space for Miami's queer and trans Asian community to connect, be understood, be empowered, and make change.
We are Miami's flagship organization for our queer and trans Asian community. We recognize and welcome anyone and everyone who belongs to our queer and trans Asian community in Miami.
Whether you have just immigrated to Miami from another city or even another country, whether you are also Black, Latinx, Indigenous, White, whether you have a disability, whether you are religious or live a secular lifestyle, whether you are poor or middleclass or rich, whether you are transgender, nonbinary, cisgender or don't even know what those mean, whether you are bisexual, pansexual, asexual, lesbian, gay, or completely outside of those labels... or whether these mean nothing to you and you just know you ain't straight and you're Asian!... We welcome you.
Our goals for our collective are to:
Connect queer and trans Asians in Miami
Understand and validate our unique perspective as queer and trans Asians, and how it relates to non-Asian intersections of identity
Empower each other by providing space for self expression and opportunities for building skills
Make change by confronting problems that affect both our own community and the greater community in Miami
History, or "Why does Miami need an LGBTQ+ organization for Asians in Miami?"
Miami Q&A was founded by Kyle Maharlika in March 2018. Born and raised in Miami, he recognized that the Asian community in South Florida feels fragmented. He lived in one of those fragments. Growing up in North Miami Beach, one of Miami's neighborhoods with the highest concentration of Asian people, he did indeed have an Asian community, but that community was mostly connected by family. Although familial connections are wonderful, our Asian familial spaces rarely allow for us to express our full authentic selves if we are also queer/trans. Without being able to be our full selves, and without being given the space, many in the Asian LGBTQ community in Miami are left feeling alone in their unique struggles that people who hold other identities don't always share.
Whether you are an Asian person native to Miami, moved from an entirely different country, or moved from another U.S. major city, what we often find is that it's hard to find community as an Asian person here already. Many people don't understand Asians in Miami, and many never really interact with Asians beyond buying Asian food. Kyle himself even felt at times that he didn't understand the need for Asian organizations or communities, but that was before truly understanding that his Asian identity impacts his life heavily as a gay man.
In college, he was fortunate enough to be invited to be part of an organization at the University of Florida called QAPI, and being a part of the weekly discussions, he began to understand certain aspects of his life at a much deeper level, connecting his Filipino/Japanese-Brazilian identity and experiences to those he had as a gay man. It was deeply transformative to share community and stories with other queer and trans Asians, enough so that he believed all queer and trans Asian people deserved to have such a space to explore their own identity.
Fast forward in time to 2018, and he decided to finally start an organization for queer and trans Asians in Miami, with the help of the Maven Leadership Collective, a leadership institute for Queer and Trans People of Color that is building a movement for queer and trans people of color and our allies to radically redefine leadership, the spaces we occupy, and the impact we have.