Aashi Gahlot writes for Safar

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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

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