I am what I am (bisexual)

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I am what I am (bisexual) and no one can change my thinking about LOVE.

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LGBT Muslim Solidarity Campaign

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Last Wednesday, the Peter Tatchell Foundation launched the LGBT Muslim Solidarity Campaign by the Whitechapel Tube station. There was a mix reaction of hostility and support from the surrounding Muslim community in East London.

The campaign urges to unite against all hate, oppose homophobia and support LGBT Muslims. It’s also meant to help build solidarity between Muslims and the LGBT community.

Explaining the thinking behind the campaign, Peter Tatchell, said:

“The LGBT-Muslim Solidarity campaign is seeking to reach out, create dialogue and bring the Muslim and LGBT communities together, to oppose the prejudice, discrimination and hate crime that both communities experience. We also want to support and empower LGBT Muslims, to give them a voice and visibility – and to tackle anti-LGBT prejudice in the Muslim community and anti-Muslim prejudice in the LGBT community. Our goal is unity and solidarity to oppose all hate. This is the first phase of our LGBT-Muslim solidarity campaign, to overcome divisions between Muslim and LGB people, for our common good,” he said.

Ejel Khan, a gay Muslim and social activist, and a participant at the launch event, said:

“It is imperative that our LGBT Muslim voices are heard and that we engage with the mainstream Muslim community. I’ve spoken in some mosques on LGBT issues but many mosques still don’t acknowledge and support their LGBT worshippers. That needs to change.”

Sohail Ahmed, who is gay and from a devout Muslim family, also attended on Wednesday. He added:

“As a gay Muslim, I always feared that Muslims and non-Muslims alike would view me negatively for being both Muslim and gay. I thought that mentioning I’m gay would make me and my religion look bad and that everyone would judge me as being a ‘fake Muslim.’ I felt so alone and thought that no one would understand me. I never told anyone. This campaign has the opportunity to change lives, and even save some. I wish I had come across something like this during my darkest moments as a young gay Muslim. No one deserves to be alone and unsupported, especially not LGBT Muslims, who often go through extreme difficulties because of their sexuality, faith and ethnicity.”

*Photo/Video credit: The Peter Tatchell Foundation

Celebrity street artist Pegasus creates an art piece for the Naz & Matt Foundation

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Pegasus met Naz a few years ago when he asked permission for Naz’s clinic’s (Face Clinic London / Soho Skin) outside wall in Soho to be used as a canvas for Pegasus’ open air exhibition of his street art.

Shortly afterwards, a fabulously cheeky drawing of Marilyn Monroe, wearing American flag hot pants and sneakers, appeared outside the clinic, amazing staff and putting smiles on the faces of everyone who walked past. The beautiful artwork has since become a tourist attraction and much loved by the Soho community.

Pegasus has since been creating high-profile artworks for Kate Middleton, to celebrate the upcoming birth of the future King of England. And most recently, the inspiringly cheeky portrait of a young Queen Elizabeth to celebrate her becoming the longest reigning monarch of England. Rumour has it that the palace and the Queen love it.

Pegasus has very kindly offered to donate his latest masterpiece to the Naz and Matt Foundation, to be installed inside the clinic of Face Clinic London and Soho Skin – the place that he met Naz and they became friends.

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Mawaan Rizwan takes us on a journey…

Last week BBC 3 broadcasted “How Gay is Pakistan” a documentary that followed Mawaan Rizwan to Pakistan to check out and learn more the Pakistani LGBTQ community in Lahore and Karachi.

For over five years Mawaan has made us laugh with his twerking and outrageous sense of humour on his youtube channel.

Mawaan takes us on a journey where he meets LGBTQ advocacy groups, goes to an underground club, learns more about the MSM scene and meets Imam who is convinced he has found a “cure” to make gay people straight.

UK AMA Nomination: Muslim Drag Queens

Earlier this year, filmmaker & journalist Kieran Yates produced “Muslim Drag Queens” for Guardian Docs. Which received over one million views on the Guardian’s website.

The documentary featured Asifa Lahore and followed asylum-seeker Ali as he transformed into Shilpa Jaan.

Kieran has been nominated for a UK AMA award for Best Investigation piece, if Kieran wins – this will be the first AMA award for a Gaysian documentary.

This is one of the biggest nights for Asian media professionals!

Good luck Kieran!

Unfreedom Screening (Banned In India)

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Birmingham South Asians LGBT – Finding A Voice, Humsafar Leicester, MySpiritualSoul.com, Saathi Night and GaysianFaces.com presents “Unfreedom” a film by Raj Amit Kumar.

This film was banned in India due to the film’s LGBT content; this will be the first screening of Unfreedom here in the UK.

Unfreedom is an urgent contemporary thriller about a society torn apart by political, religious, and sexual turmoil.

Shifting between New York and New Delhi, the film juxtaposes two powerful and unflinching stories about religious fundamentalism and intolerance, one of which follows a Muslim terrorist attempting to silence a liberal Muslim scholar, while the other is about a young woman who defies her devout father and escapes an arranged marriage because she is secretly embroiled in a taboo lesbian romance.

In this searing portrait of the polarized world we live in, all four characters go to their absolute limit—and beyond—in their struggle to defend their deeply-held and conflicting viewpoints on freedom, faith, family and love.

We’ll be screening Unfreedom on 29th November 2015, at the Mac in Birmingham. There will be a social mixer from 2pm to 3pm, followed by the screening. Free admission.

Birmingham South Asians LGBT – Finding A Voice: Birmingham South Asians LGBT – Finding A Voice is an independent, non-funded social/support group for South Asians aged 18+ who identify as LGBT, regardless of faith, culture, religion or disability. Reaching out across Birmingham and the Midlands, FAV aims to empower individuals to find acceptance within themselves and the wider community.

Humsafar Leicester Humsafar is a South Asian support service for the LGBT community living in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

MySpiritualSoul.com:  Manjinder provides Life Coaching & Spiritual Counselling to LGBTQI South Asians worldwide. Working on LGBTQI Rights for South Asians with Indian LGBTQIorganisations primarily. He’s currently finalising  his self-help book ‘Bollywood Gay’, whilst releasing weekly video blogs and conducting
empowering workshops. Collaborating with Stonewall and Barbados on many
topics that need to be addressed for LGBTQI ethnic minorities.

Saathi NightSaathi is a monthly Gaysian Club night in the West Midlands. They have been on the scene for over 13 years. They provide a safe space for the Gaysian community to let individuals be themselves.

GaysianFaces.com:  Gaysian Faces is a Queer Anthropology Photography Project focusing on the South Asian LGBTQ community.  We take a headshot of the individual and they write on a piece of paper “who they are” or whatever they like to write. We merge those two images together. Our objective is to capture the beauty, creativity, diversity and individuality of the Gaysian community.

Is being Gay accepted in British Asian society? (Video)

The DesiBlitz Team hit the streets to ask that age old question…

Is being Gay accepted in British Asian society? They put all the answers together in this video.