south asian queer

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Twitter is full of a lot of things; trolls, youtubers, dog memes, trump drawing things, alt right nazis, good comedic timing and celebs. But sometimes you can just happen chance on a really kick ass artist.

To keep it short and sweet, Akshay B. Varaham   is a 19 year old Hindu/Muslim who is currently attending LCAD. Their art is bright, alluring and captivating. Akshay’s art makes me wonder why some major art studios don’t explore stories within cultures like in South East Asia. There’s some really beautiful folklore and religious tales that is clearly illustrated by Akshay that could not only make for better stories, but for more diverse representation.

The last illustration in this features is of their webcomic; PUU. It’s a romance involving two Muslim men who are gay, living in India. If you’re enamored with flowers, then you need to check it out asap.

Check them out from the links below- jeriorliz 

————————–TWITTER TUMBLR WEBCOMIC———————————

looking for muslim/hindu and/or south asian artists and writers to submit to PUNKJABI zine– a creative space fr people of the above mentioned groups. email submissions to madeehasheikhq@gmail.com with your name and the subject header “punkjabi zine submission” 

rules: no sexism, no racism, no homophobia, no transphobia

diwali and growing up mixed

so today’s diwali…and it feels so lonely. this post is for other south asian/desi people/ bi-racial people who didn’t get a chance to learn about their own culture.with parents that split or maybe you went through a phase where you wanted to pretend to be someone else. or ex-hindus or ex-whatever it was that kept you finding out about yourself. i try to keep my eyes open and continue to participate in ways that don’t try to erase my intersecting identities too. so, i say happy diwali to you, from the bottom of my heart. even if you have no one to celebrate with, or where you live no one knows what the hell you’re talking about. i hope you are blessed for this new year and ring in that cash.

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Illustrations for my senior project Dreamfruit, in which I created a visual language on queer South Asian diasporic identities, stories, rituals, and experiences through clothing. This project was explored the queer brown body as a site of subversion, resistance, magic, and transformation. I presented Dreamfruit as a queer fashion show in which qtpoc models performed the shirts in front of the projections of these illustrations. These images were drawn from interviews I conducted over several months with various young lgbtq South Asian folks in the US. 

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D’Lo

D’Lo is a transgender, American-Tamil-Sri Lankan, self-made artist. He is a comedian, performer, writer, music producer, spoken word artist and political activist. He has collaborated with various community organizations such as: Arpana Dance Company based in Southern California, South Asian Artist Collective (SAART), SATAM, Satrang and TeAda Productions. He is a current advisory committee member for Satrang, a South Asian LGBTQIA organization located in Southern California.
Additionally, D’Lo has performed at and facilitated writing workshops extensively across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Sri Lanka and India, having created Coming Out, Coming Home—a writing workshop series that has taken place with South Asian and immigrant queer organizations across the United States. D’Lo’s work has been published in various anthologies and academic journals, such as “Desi Rap: Hip Hop and South Asia America.”

It was only through building community with other queer South Asians and other queer communities of color that I began to find ways to narrate trauma in a way that felt more safe and authentic. In these communities we can name the intricacies of familial violence and not be judged for deciding to return. In these spaces I began to learn knowledge about diaspora and the history of South Asia. Collectively we began to recognize that our immigrant families are not just transphobic, they are also ‘colonized.’ I learned the ways in which colonialism in South Asia and white supremacy in the United States has always relied on regulating the genders and sexualities of my people. I learned the ways in which racism operates by enforcing and policing the gender binary and compulsory heterosexuality on communities of color. I recognized that my family is just as broken as I am but they never had the time and space to really process and heal from the violence of colonialism, the terror of Partition, the trauma of diaspora – let alone the English to articulate it to me.
—  Coming Home: Queer South Asians and the Politics of Family

My name is Steph. I’m a clusterfuck of things, but I’m mostly Desi – Malayali and Tamil (and Portuguese and a couple of other things), and I’m really proud of my South Asian heritage. I mean, I have my grandpa to thank for my excellent eyebrows, and my parents and grandparents for my ability to eat extremely spicy food.

I grew up in Southeast Asia, and the food is great and the weather is nice and the culture is fantastic… but I’m queer, so it’s not for me. On some level, this makes me sad, but it is what it is, I guess.

I’m tired of queer South Asian women being underrepresented in the media, so as a budding academic, I’m trying to change that. I’m also slowly learning that being in Grad School means you’re tired a lot, but that you always make time for your dog (my dog’s name is Reese; he’s a cutie).
It’s for a worthy cause, though. I don’t want more queer Indian girls growing up like I did; looking for representation and finding next to nothing. I’m here to try and end, while trying to reconcile my culture with my queer identity. 

Still, thank you, Shamim Sarif – everyone needs a feel-good cheesy movie or two, once in a while.

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Posting pictures of me and my cousins in cultural desi garb from this past winter at my cousin’s wedding. I don’t wear bindis as I am Muslim but I wanted to join the movement and message of reclaiming the bindi, as our cultures as South Asian & Arab peoples have been stolen for entertainment and profit. I used to feel very ashamed and insecure to wear shalwarkameez as a child, because no one else wore them in my life growing up. Now, I am happier than ever to embrace my cultural identity and clothing. Our cultures are not costumes, and we will take back what is rightfully ours.