From midnight on I can marry the man that I love and that makes me happy.
Here’s to Equal Marriage!
Out in the City highlights Beneath the Surface September events.
See feature by Gay Star News writer Liam Johnson on Beneath the Surface.
This activity is supported by Arts Council England. GEM Arts has co-commissioned the script development. It wouldn’t have been possible without the support of many arts and LGBT sector partners in each city area.
Workshop exploring British Asian lesbian, gay and bisexual lives: Sat 22 June, 2pm, Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton.
A television documentary about divorce in Asian communities is seeking contributors. It is now specifically looking for gay Asian men or women who were previously married, are now divorced and either single or with a same-sex partner of their choice.
Twenty years ago divorce was rarely heard of in Asian communities. Today there are divorcees in most families. Unsurprisingly many gay Asian men and women still feel that marriage is a small sacrifice to make to maintain a loving and supportive relationship with their families. And denying their sexuality or finding a workable solution is possible and only a small price to pay.
Just under two years ago, on arrival at Heathrow, coming back from a break in India with a little time to kill, a copy of Attitude magazine caught my eye. There was a sub-headline about a (gay) Asian Sikh man not out feeling pressurised to have an arranged marriage by his family. At the time I was surprised that even today someone (of quite a similar background to me) could feel that. My surprise was also reflective of my own experience: being fortunate enough to be assertive and even forthright about my personal choices in life.
I recall the first time I met and heard about the stories of older gay men who had had a second lease of life in their middle age. I was 15 and had started to make links with LGB (at the time) support groups in Wolverhampton. I met two older white men in their early 50s who ran a group for older men. They had courted girls as youngsters, married at 20, had children and led a ‘straight’ existence. It was later, aged 45+ that they had come out to their families, separated from their wives, dealt with the fallout and gone on to have a whole new lease of life. Hearing this was a revelation to me: that they couldn’t be true to themselves, having to live a lie for so long to themselves and their families. Their greatest regret was not being honest with themselves and coming out sooner. Yes, there was heartache, upset and a ruptured family for a period… Fortunately love prevailed, time forgave and people healed.
More recently I’ve become aware that there’s a whole scene of people engaging in marriages of convenience between Asian lesbian women and gay men; so that they don’t have to give up their families, can raise children together, still be accepted by the wider (Asian) community and still have (discreet) same-sex relationships. Are the two really not compatible?
The more that we hear about and see the diversity and complexity of British Asian gay lives through fictions and the media, the more visibility we give to a largely hidden subject, contributing to increased awareness and understanding.
If there is anyone who’s happy to talk about their experience of being gay and married and now divorced with Shakir Kadri, the documentary filmmaker, please get in touch with him firstname.lastname@example.org
Inspired by the degree of interest and enthusiasm last autumn especially from Londoners, we thought it would be good to run an event in the capital. It’s an opportunity for us to connect with people touched by the subject of Asian homosexuality.
We will facilitate an inclusive space for people and go through series of structured exercises: designed to stimulate recollection, conversation and sharing. Participants will work together in pairs talking and listening and take part in an individual writing exercise. There will be space to share things with the group as people see fit – this is OPTIONAL!
No former experience or specific skills are necessary to attend. A willingness to have a go and contribute within your personal parameters is all that is required.
Participants will also learn more about the current progress and future plans for the Beneath the Surface project.
2 hours. Cost £5. Booking through Southbank Centre
I’ve a live radio interview at 12:10 (GMT) today with Kevin Resley on the Communities Live programme on Sheffield Live! online or 93.2FM.
Here’s the 1 min 11 edit on the Sunrise website.
And just to clarify, we’re using the real life interviews as ‘inspiration’ – a starting point. We’re not making verbatim theatre through the retelling of specific lives.
And what’s just sliced from the end of the interview is: whilst this project isn’t trying to change the world, it is about breathing life into this much hidden subject in Asian communities (to raise more awareness, discussion and understanding).
Ok, just been told there should be a longer edit – 1 minute – on the sister radio station Kismat
Sunrise Radio interview to air today every hour this morning just after the hour. This is their LGB/T coverage week. Listen live online or access in archives from tomorrow.