Why do we need a month of celebrations for the LGBTQ+ people you ask? Well, the answer would be – “is the ‘Pride Month’ enough if you are still asking this question!”
The rights movement of the LGBTQ+ community has been going on for years, and celebrating Pride Month became a thing from 1969. Are these groups separately or comprehensively celebrated across the nation? Theoretically, yes, but individuals of this group and the community, altogether still face challenges. Different cultures still have trouble accepting them, including the South Asian community living abroad or back in their native counties.
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Across the United States, volunteer-run, community-based organizations are promoting social and mental health for queer and trans South Asians. Many of these are private Facebook groups designated to be safe spaces for members of these communities. Here are a few that you should definitely check out.
- DeQH – Desi LGBTQ Helpline: South Asian LGBQ/T peer support helpline that offers free, confidential, culturally sensitive peer support, information, and resources for LGBQ/T South Asian individuals, families, and friends around the globe.
- DesiQ Diaspora: The largest gathering of LGBTQ+ and GNC South Asian, Indo-Caribbean, and folks that identify within the South Asian Diaspora. Earlier conferences (DesiQ), held in 1995, 2000, 2006, and 2013, brought together hundreds of LGBTQ+ and GNC South Asian and Desi people from around the world to discuss the political and cultural issues that people in our communities face. The next one was postponed due to COVID-19 and is scheduled for 2022.
- Desi Rainbow Parents and Allies: A space for parents and families of LGBTQ+ individuals to find community with one another and learn how to better support their children including hosting educational and peer support events open to the wider community.
- Queering Desi: A podcast that celebrates the unique experiences of South Asian LGBTQ+ people. In each episode, a guest chats with long-time community activist and writer, Priya Arora, about their journey and what it means to be true to who you are.
- South Asian Sexual and Mental Health Alliance (SASMHA): A community for South Asian youth across the diaspora who need a space to dialogue and learn about issues key to who they are. SASMHA’s goal is to fight cultural stigmas, educate, and empower the South Asian American community by providing resources on the issues most important to us, from sex and sexuality to mental health.
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The celebration of Pride Month is to promote equality for all. It is time we ask ourselves if we continue to discriminate on the basis of the sexual orientation of an individual.
A gentle reminder – individuals of the LGBTQ+ group are people who are still fighting for their basic human rights and acceptance in our society. We hope the next generation does not have to grow up in fear of their identity and face constant persecution from peers. Ultimately, love is love – and we just need to celebrate it (now more than ever) no matter what.
Priyanka grew up in New Jersey. She has a strong interest in exercise science, nutrition, public health, healthcare, and medicine, as she is a physician. She also has an interest in skincare, fashion, dance, and many other aspects of lifestyle, and she loves to spread this knowledge through social media.