Monthly Archives: June 2014

The day before the event…


Hot Indian sun ensures vitamin D

Well today the weather feels significantly cooler with a mist outside on this peak called home. My other half tells me it reminds him of holidays in Madikeri in the Western Ghats of India and how he loved this type of weather. Lovingly, I told him he was odd! I too would probably feel the same if I’d grown up in a hot country. Whereas us Brits certainly in my adult years yearn for warm or even hot summers because they’re so scarce. Seriously vitamin D deficiency is a growing concern for anyone a shade of brown plus. I hear it is even becoming an issue for Caucasian skin due to our infrequent strong sun. As it is not routinely tested for it remains hidden. I accept recently,  we could even say we’ve had a good attempt at summer so far. I digress, this post was not about vitamin D, we’ll save that for another day and another blog.

There’s not too much to say really. It is London Pride 2014 tomorrow. It will be my second. We attended World Pride in 2012. It is however, the first Parade I’ve been part of and organised. I think it is useful to recap the reasons for participating in the Parade. This intervention is an unexpected activity for me when I set up Beneath the Surface and this blog, this wasn’t part of the proposed vision and trajectory. Yet, this activism has now become an essential part. Increasing Asian visibility of LGBTQ lives is the main reason for it coupled with a genuine deeply felt belief that we are stronger en masse, and if we want to see change, we have to take action, stand up and be counted. And this visibility offers hope, especially to others and reaffirms belief and solidarity.

Without other’s interest and momentum I wouldn’t be writing this specific post. Let’s see how this year turns out. I have many ideas for next year in terms of themed procession to make more assertive political cultural representations. Attempting to create more Asian visibility at Pride isn’t my project alone. I’m interested in forming a group of interested people to steer the future of such activity. If you’re interested in being part of this please get in touch with me.

Wishing you and yours a happy and safe London Pride 2014. x


Aashi Gahlot writes for Safar


On the 23rd of May 2014, I was blessed with the opportunity to speak at Southbank Centre’s Alchemy Festival in London at, “The Love That Knows Much Shame” after being invited by Bobby Tiwana. Exploring South Asian LGBT lives and experiences, the event explored the issues and triumphs of being South Asian and LGBT in the UK today. Aashi Gahlot

I run SHOR, an online creative portal exploring the messages and experiences of South Asian LGBTQ persons and supporters across the globe.

We recently interviewed Devi, a mother whose daughter came out to her as lesbian 12 years ago. Initially, Devi felt angry and hated the thought of her daughter being a lesbian. But now, not only does Devi accept and embrace her daughter for who she is, but she also accepts and embraces her daughter’s partner.

One prominent thing that this interview brought home to me was the fact that it is not easy for a parent when their child comes out as gay, or LGBTQ.

In my own experience, I ended up becoming estranged from my family for 4 years. My sexuality was a huge problem. But now, I am completely accepted by my father.

The interview with Devi and the panel made me realise that actually, my father has always loved me. He has never hated me for being gay. It was society, the taboo, the stigma that surrounds homosexuality that contributed to the 4 year separation.

What happened was not easy for my family, nor was it easy for me. Krishna South Bank (2) I still have a very long way to go.

My work at Shor is a vision to get to that day where a LGBTQ South Asian person can come out completely to their loved ones without fear and without shame.

Sexuality is not a choice and neither is it shameful. What matters is that an individual can safely express their love for another.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you – a thank you that no matter how many times I say it, it just can never be enough.

This thank you is to Lord Krishna, the most beautiful and truest best friend who is always in the heart of every individual no matter what.

When I was away from my family, it was Lord Krishna who helped me through it all, the good and the bad. It was Lord Krishna who watched over my family and kept them strong, able to face all that came their way.

In fact, around a week before the event I was at Radha-Krishna temple in Central London. I was feeling a bit down. That’s when a fellow devotee approached me and we had a (very) quick talk about life. I did not mention anything about my work or the talk.

A few days later, that same devotee handed me a hand written note that read:

“Always remember KRSNA

Strength lies not in victory against the 10,000

But in facing the 10,000 before victory”

Thank you Krishna for always being there and being my best friend

Aashi Gahlot

Take part, London Pride Parade – Saturday 28 June 2014


Designed by BlossomFreedom to… be me! Come and take part in the London Pride Parade 2014 to support Asian LGBTQ lives on Saturday 28 June. We will take part in the parade to celebrate life, to show we exist, for solidarity, to offer hope and take action.

The parade commences at 13:00 from Baker Street and ends between 15:30 – 16:30 approx at Whitehall.

Please register your interest with me here leaving your details so that I can contact you. I need to provide quite an accurate figure of Parade walkers to the organisers. I will also tell you where we need to meet beforehand from 11:30 – 12:00 so that we can group together.

Come and support your sisters and brothers. Together we will make a difference!