Since 2006 Same-sex marriages have been legal in across Canada. Although this has been the case for a decade most headlines involving LGBT issues have been focused on Same-sex marriage, as the US has had a slow state by state transition to legalization, unitil June 2015 when they finally made it happen on a national scale. Since most headlines have been dominated by the the marriage debate, many other arguably more important causes have been shafted. Here’s a quick snippet:
1. Queer and Trans* Youth Homelessness
2. Violence Against Queer and Trans* People
3. Racial Justice
4. Immigrant Justice
6. Economic Justice
7. Trans* Justice
Check out the comprehensive list with explanations here:
In June of 2015 Toronto opened its doors to Canadian Centre for Refugee and Immigrant Health Care. This isn’t a private corporation, nor is it a government funded project, the Centre is the product of dedicated volunteers trying to open a health care facility to serve the uninsured and undocumented people living in Toronto without the means to access health care. After 15 years in its old location, through the donations of time, money, and supplies, the clinic opened its new two-storey office doors in June at the Knox Presbyterian Church Agincourt. Check out all that went into this project at the link below:
Blogger “The Attractor” recently came up with an interesting list of 5 things gay men should stop doing, check out the list below.
1. Describing yourself as straight acting
2. Baring it all on Dating Websites, But still “Looking for Friendship”
3. Femme Shaming
4. Using Sexual Labels as Life Labels
5. Slut shaming other gay men
Check out the detailed article here:
February 5, 2015 marks 34 years after the Toronto bathhouse raids, for Canadian LGBT history that’s kind of a big deal. When we look at mainstream gay culture, the iconic catalyst of the gay liberation movement is often referenced as the Stonewall riots in New York City. Though this maybe true, one of the iconic Canadian catalyst for mobilization was the raids held on Toronto Bathhouses in the early 80′s. Check out what the landscape looks like for bathhouses in Toronto 30 years later.
“You`re attractive for an Indian guy!”
“How can you be gay and brown?”
“I don’t do Pakis!”
Do these sound familiar to you? Research shows you’re not alone.
South Asian brown bodies are rarely well represented in mainstream queer spaces. What initially inspired this campaign were community voices and the Imagine Men’s Health study (IMHS) results.
IMHS was a community-based study that examined the relationship between experiences of racism, homophobia, ethno-racial identity, resilience and risks for body image dissatisfaction, and associated eating behaviours and attitudes among ethno-racial men who have sex with men (MSM). Our communities have already been speaking about their experiences when exploring the queer community, but by having a formalized study that further highlights these narratives, really propelled us forward in taking some action.
Out of the 4 ethno-racial groups that were surveyed for the study, South Asians were significantly more likely to report experiences of racism and social appearance anxiety. These unique findings demonstrated how brown faces and bodies are rarely well represented in mainstream queer spaces.
This inspired us to come up with something that would celebrate our cultural identities, promotes pride in our brown bodies and fosters confidence to navigate how we connect, hook-up and love. We want people to share this campaign and its message with their folks and networks to inform, educate and empower.
With the help of the amazingly talented artist Eric Kostiuk Williams and our advisory committee, we came up with 4 illustrated images that show different online profiles of South Asian men. Using humour, each profile celebrates our uniqueness as queer brown men while creatively referencing and challenging the ignorance that brown men experience within the gay community.
We hope that BnP provides that reminder in taking pride in how we see our beautiful brown bodies by validating our experiences.
Check out the full campaign here: Brown n proud
This campaign is supported by the AIDS Bureau
Who embodies all of the above? D’Lo, a performance artist and comedian based in the US, D’Lo has made quite the name for themselves touring internationally including right here in Toronto. In a recent show I had the privilege of attending D’lo entertained and engaged the audience with the story of their coming out process, twice. D’Lo first came out as gay, then again as trans, to their Sri Lankan american family. Often when exploring cultural dialogues on sexuality we rarely move past gay/straight, if we even get there. Check out this great feature on D’Lo’s rise to success, and their Journey there.
One year ago today South Asian Queers around the world received devastating news that homosexuality was again criminal in India. According to the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a Law introduced during British rule, sex between the same sex is illegal. On July 2, 2009 a seven year legal battle in the New Delhi high courts lead by the non-profit Naz foundation won the verdict to decriminalize homosexuality. The argument brought forth by Naz was the law infringed on Indians constitutional right to dignity, privacy, and equality.
On December 11, 2013 the Supreme Court of India overturned the landmark decision made in 2009. This decision rolled back decades of work and re-criminalized homosexuality in India.
Here are a few links to help understand what happened:
LGBT community outraged as SC rules gay sex illegal, upholds Sec 377
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code
One year anniversary of the SC judgement: International Events and Actions
In Tamil movie ‘Goa’ there was a gay story line that too with a full song sequence for the gay characters, very similar to straight characters in any Tamil romantic comedy flick. Unlike the recent Hindi flick. this wasn’t a faux-gay role as portrayed in ‘Dostana’ either.
Also another recent tamil movie ‘Avan Ivan’ where Vishal plays an effeminate actor was a huge hit all across south. It had an awesome hero entry song and dance with hero in saree and full accessories. (You have to see it to believe the level of awesomeness.)
The big question now is, will any of the Kolloywood directors attempt to remake Oscar winning movie “Brokeback Mountain” in Tamil ? Does the current trend accepting trend of the Tamil movie audience continue to signal a cultural shift towards more societal acceptance of LGBT individuals in Tamil Nadu and the the Tamil diaspora ?