No shame, no fear, no crime
The development of this creative enterprise is about giving voice and visibility to Asian and Middle Eastern LGBTQ experience in the UK and abroad. The aim is to provide an alternative platform for Queer Desis (‘Desi’ is Hindi slang for South Asians) and people of Middle Eastern origins to join together with others, show solidarity and inspire others to be ‘out, proud and happy’. This is not a new or novel idea. It follows in the footsteps of founders and pioneers from the Naz Project in London, Shakti events, Club Kali, Northern Masala, and countless others that have been initiated and formed out of the struggles for better sexual health, information, advice and support for UK’s Asian gay men and lesbians for the last three decades.
Queer Desires was made possible by a group of people who identified as LGBTQ and Asian or Middle Eastern and who were willing to share and speak about their significant ‘object’, and why it matters to them.
2017 marks a historic fifty years anniversary since the de-criminalisation of homosexuality laws in the UK. The country has seen a massive transformation in attitudes and values, from repression to celebration.
Against this background, there is the brutal reality that 76 countries (many of them in the Global South) continue to have hostile laws, draconian measures against, and persecution of, LGBTQ people living and surviving in their states.
The incredible progress in social and political changes on LGBTQ rights in the Britain also underlines the need for better campaigning work to tackle the fears, stigma and taboos of same-sex love and desire within UK’s ethnic minority communities.
The stories captured on this blog are about beliefs and attitudes to being people of colour and LGBTQ in the UK. Many themes emerged from the conversations including the acceptance of sexuality, the importance of a ‘home’ and family, and the search for a good and better life. The universality of these basic needs will have a resonance and relevance to all people, and for those who want or are in same sex love and relationships in British Asian and Middle Eastern cultures across generations and countries.
Queer Desires looks to engage other people of similar backgrounds to add to these experiences and to reflect individually and collectively on how far we have travelled on our journey to equality and inform others on the activism of individuals, and on the sacrifices for those seeking a better life and personal freedom.
The themes and messages are open to interpretation and responses by different audiences, artists, writers, community development workers, writers and activists.
With this in mind, the project aims to work with other LGBTQ groups working with and for Asian and Middle Eastern peoples in the UK to share contacts, support and resources – in short, working together in solidarity with others to inspire, to voice, to act!!