Thank you!

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Last week I got a call from the Independent that Gaysian Faces made it on the Rainbow List 2015: Ones to Watch.

It was a nice surprise, for the past couple of months… it’s been quite an organic journey.

I have to give credit to Kip Fulbeck, his book Part Asian/100% Hapa inspired me to do Gaysian Faces.

My sincere thanks and gratitude to all the participants who have taken the time to share their stories with me and all of you.

Thank you to the Rainbow List Judges and the Gaysian Faces supporters for nominating me.

I’ll be heading back to San Francisco (where I’m originally from) for three weeks to visit my mum. San Francisco is home to Trikone;  the oldest South Asian LGBTQ organisation in the world. I’ll be reconnecting with old friends from Trikone and they will be sharing their stories with you too. 🙂

In solidarity,

Peta

ps. If you would like to be a part of Gaysian Faces, here’s our FAQs. If you have any questions you can drop me a line gaysianfaces[@]gmail.com

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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!

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.

Trikone Members Attacked By Modi Supporters (Video)

Although this is not the main video, here’s a glimpse of right wing zealots who support Modi verbally attacking, harassing and pushing the members of Trikone.

The zealots took signs from Trikone members and ripped them up and some Modi supporters even got physical. Here’s a detailed account from Trikone’s co-chair Ali.

Section 377 was brought back into the law books December 2013, Modi has yet to acknowledge 377 or make any promises to the South Asian LGBTQ community that he will get the code off the law books for good.

These types of horrendous actions remind us all that homophobia and ignorance is still very much alive, even in the Bay Area.

Do you know these Modi supporters who kept harassing the Trikone members?

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A Sinner In Mecca Crowdfunding Campaign

A Jihad For Love” filmmaker Parvez Sharma is crowdfunding for his new documentary “A Sinner In Mecca” which he hopes will be seen in cinemas around the world. One of the pillars in Islam is to go to Hajj, Parvez goes to Mecca; but as an openly gay man. He calls this a “Saudi Selfie Film” where he takes you on his journey.

Parvez is offering an array of perks for supporting this documentary, please donate what you can in order to support this film.

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Salim’s Secret

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Salim’s Secret is a children’s book, written by Noor Ramadani. It’s about a young boy coming out to his parents. We absolutely fell in love with the illustrations. Noor was inspired to write the book after coming across a young boy from the “Human’s of New York” page. The young boy expressed fears about being homosexual. The picture amplified so much love and support for the child.

Noor is an English teacher and resides in Indonesia. Salim’s Secret is free for campaign use.