KhushDC Queer South Asian Bookclub

KhushDC

I came across a fantastic monthly event connecting Queer South Asian literature and community.

KhushDC evolved with the two founders Atul and Yassir met by chance in New York during the 25th anniversary of Stonewall.

They wanted to create a similar group like SALGA, but for the DC community. So in 1994, KhushDC launched!

I vaguely remember (please KhushDC members and please KhushDC members correct me if I’m wrong) there was a listserve on e-groups (before yahoo groups bought them out), and I know that’s how other Queer South Asians connected during the Web 1.0 era.

For those bookworms out there, they have a monthly bookclub! It’s open to anyone, and it’s global too. For March, they are reading “Blue Boy” by Rakesh Satyal.

For many of us who have felt like we didn’t belong, books offered us an opportunity to explore faraway lands, get lost in a story, inspire our imaginations.

Please take the time to read their guidelines. Have fun.

Happy reading!

Book Club Guidelines:

  1. This space is open to all.
  2. This space is trans-affirming space, so please honor people’s names and pronouns.
  3. You do not need to read the book to join the book club conversation
  4. Be mindful of the space you take, giving others the opportunity to partake in the discussion.
  5. Be mindful about your own explicit and/or implicit biases, such as (but not limited to) ableism, anti-blackness, biphobia, casteism, internalized racism, misogyny, transphobia and religious biases.
  6. Be respectful of others and their opinions. Agree to disagree.
  7. Respect each other’s privacy

Thank you Vijay Uncle

We all need a “Vijay Uncle” in our lives; I’m proud to say I got to meet him once at SASA 2004, in Houston, Texas.

From the moment I met him, the warmth of his personality just put me at ease. And he was on a mission to encourage the students to become bone marrow donors.

I forget most of his pitch, but he cheekily said something along the lines, “you can even become a marrow donor if you’re hungover,” the students just laughed so hard.

He was easy to talk to; we kept bumping into each other at the conference; I was working for a South Asian media website that was the grand sponsor of the event. We got to know each other.

I was at a low point in my early 20s; I had Vijay Uncle as a friend on MySpace. I don’t know what made me do it, but I opened up to him and came out to him; he told me his son was gay, and he even offered to go out of his way to explain to an individual that there is nothing wrong with their child being gay.

I was touched he offered to help, but I told him it is just best to let things be, and I had to move on.

But I will never forget that; a few years ago, this video popped up on my Facebook and brought me to tears. It’s a very emotional and loving tribute a father can give to his son.

Thank you, Vijay Uncle, for being you.

GaysianFaces on DesiBlitz

Bucci and I were invited to DesiBlitz offices in 2019. To give an interview about Gaysian Faces and to share our own personal stories.

Bucci was a part of the first group of Gaysians I took at the Loft in 2015.

Notice we both mentioned “you’re watching us on DesiBlitz.com” I’m actually grateful they decided to turn this into a podcast instead. I think the camera made me a little nervous.

Thank you DesiBlitz for giving us an opportunity to talk about this project.

Discussing Racism and Discrimination in Club Scene (Gin Event)

photo credit: NBC News

Hello beautiful people,

I hope you’re all well and keeping safe during these crazy times.

As you know this is a start-and-stop project, it all depends on how many participants we get.

But I’m going to be blogging more, at least a couple of times a week.

Just to reconnect with all of you and share our mission of sharing stories of LGBTQIA+ South Asians, whether they are out or now.

Updates?

I got plenty, but don’t want to overwhelm you.

Our Twitter has been suspended, I don’t know why. The only explanation I can give, maybe Twitter’s algorithm spotted some queer content and thought it was something sinister.

I’m hoping to get it back, but we still got our Instagram.

I would like to draw your attention to an important GIN meet-up, this Saturday, to discuss racism and discrimination you’ve ever faced in clubs.

There’s some “usual suspects” on the scene that discriminates against the Queer POC community, rather than trying to cultivate an inclusive and thriving community.

In 2017, we launched “Denied for being POC” where we collected a few stories, it was inspired by an incident I personally witnessed, while out with my partner and her colleagues.

It will be nice to engage with you all again from time to time. Please feel free to email me your charity if you’re looking for one-off donations of any kind.