Tag Archives: LGBT

Gaysians walk in S_O_L_I_D_A_R_I_T_Y!


On SAT 8 JUL, the largest group of GAYSIANS (gay + Asian (though welcome to all LGBTQ+ family and allies), will march together at London Pride in solidarity to create a visible, audible, passionate value-driven presence.

It is led by the mighty spirited LAKS MANN & REETA. Together they have mobilised gaysian communities from across the UK to participate together on this day.

To reserve your place contact lion-i@virginmedia.com 

The Gaysians are here. Here’s to the better future. x

Bobby Tiwana


Autumn Outing


Little Elephant makes an autumn appearance at The 11th Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival on Saturday 15 October. It is part of the UK Short Films programme. The event runs from 10:15 – 12:00. It looks like a compelling programme.

Venue: Old Market Hall Cinema, Shrewsbury, SY1 1LH

The festival runs from 14 – 16 October 2016.

Making Progress or Losing Ground: LGBT Asia


Sat 23 May, 6.00pm, Southbank Centre, London

Building on the success of last year’s panel discussion event at the Alchemy festival, The Love That Knows Much Shame, the Southbank Centre was keen to explore the subject again this year. We decided on a different type of event structure: a café style set-up bite size discussion event. I’ve identified distinctive speakers with a breadth of experience and perspectives. Each contributor will present for a few minutes followed by discussions on their topic.


Dr Abhi Shetty

Consultant Psychiatrist and gender specialist Dr Abhi Shetty will cover Hinduism and LGBT. How does Hinduism understand sexuality and gender? What are the narratives of old? Abhi was born into a Hindu family in India. He received a Catholic and Hindu education and has retained an interest in religious studies as an adult. He has an academic and personal interest in diverse expressions of religion, gender and sexuality.

Rose Neelam will look at Sexuality and Gender Identity through a British Pakistani lens, with a focus on British Pakistani women.  Exploring how Pakistani Culture has informed a generation to express and accept themselves. Rose is director of Safra Project, working on issues around gender and sexuality in Islam, supporting LBTQ Muslim women and exploring the impact of Islamophobia in Queer communities.


Anato Chowdhury

Anato Chowdhury will explore Being Bisexual: navigating invisibility and practicality. Anato was born in Bangladesh and grew up travelling between Dhaka and other cities across Europe and Asia. Over the last few years he has been documenting his experience of bisexuality, and blogging about people’s reactions to his identity. His work has a special focus on his Muslim Bangladeshi background. Anato works as an engineer in the energy industry and is currently based in Scotland.


Raisa Kabir

Raisa Kabir will present In/Visible Space (Queer Brown Gendered Bodies): a series of visual essays that explore interwoven links between dress and space as components in the construction and visibility of South Asian LGBTQ identity. Raisa identifies as a South Asian queer femme and is a cultural activist, artist and writer. She has written about South Asian queer dress identity and culture, queer femme of colour invisibility, as well as cultural appropriation, ethnicity, diaspora and dress.


Bobby Tiwana

And finally, I, Bobby Tiwana will talk about Mobilising Others: creating structures to enable greater Asian LGB/T engagement, participation, representation, consumption and understanding. This is as a producer of fringe narratives and LGBT broker with various cultural, educational and community agencies.

The event will offer rich provocations to stimulate discussion in groups, drawing together a diversity of perspectives, experiences, identities and understanding.

For bookings see Southbank Centre event page. The event finishes at 7.45pm.

Would be great to see you there!

London here we come


Flare_LLGFFFlare, the 2014 London LGBT Film festival kicked off yesterday and runs until 30 March at the British Film Institute. We’re heading down tonight and planning to watch several films over the next two days. We’re watching Veronica Videla’s Passion, Concussion, Cross My Heart and Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger. And who knows, whatever else takes our fancy.

I’m also heading to the Bush Theatre to catch We Are Proud to Present… by Jackie Sibblies Drury.


Progressive Smethwick Library


photo (32)This morning was like a blast from the past, leaving Wolverhampton for Smethwick. Accurately speaking the former commute was to Oldburyphoto (31) and then West Bromwich. It was drizzling but quite mild with a damp breeze. I met with Jean Fenn, the Library Manager. She was great. We started by looking around the space. I used to know the library quite well. When I worked for Black Country Touring we ran an event or two in the community room upstairs and even the odd show in the main space downstairs. I always liked the place for it’s ease of access, its location in a community setting and the types of participants and audiences we engaged with. I suppose I feel like I did a bit of creative growing up here from the genesis of Apna Ghar, A Thin Red Line workshops and The Corner Shop oral history training. Dawn Winter, the former manager was a great support.

Jean Fenn was as equally impressive. We ran through the practicalities of the space. It’s a little all change. photo (27)I was aware of the Big Lottery grant award they received a few years back, but I’d not seen the results: the new cafe, toilets and widening of the overall space.

But what I was most impressed with was the strategic development of LGBT resources: evident through displays, rainbow spine-tagged books, DVDs and magazines. Diva and Attitude sat next to Asiana and Asian Bride.  I was delighted to see my Beneath the Surface publicity materials centre stage. The image of two men kissing blown up and clearly visible to library users.

There is an LGBT reading group that meets monthly. The library also organises an annual LGBT event. And now I’m on the cusp of presenting Asian gay and lesbian lives to the Smethwick community within a workshop setting, can’t wait. Roll-on Smethwick…

Newcastle Gateshead – the great north!


Memories of Newcastle Martin Stuart MooreA few weeks ago I was in Newcastle (and Gateshead) for a day of meetings for Beneath the Surface. I set off early on a beautiful clear day driving north. The sky was bright, in fact crystalline. Driving through North Yorkshire, along the A1 it was bare, remote and unspoilt. I suddenly felt a love for the barren and sparsely populated landscape compared to the ever-crowed populous south.

This was only my third trip to the region and second to the city. Whilst driving, I was aware that my feelings for the place were romantic, somewhat idealised… informed by my limited contact with the place and an exoticism, that is the power of the new. I have always found, perhaps like many others do too, new towns, cities and places highly stimulating. There is an immense freedom (for the senses) in discovering something new.

I can recall the first time I came out of Birmingham New St Station via the Pallasades ramp and was presented with tall city centre buildings; skyscrapers to my 14-year old innocence. I rushed with euphoria down my spine as I looked towards the sky, stimulated by these man-made structures.

Twenty-four years later I wasn’t quite rushing… The River Tyne was wider than I anticipated; consequently the Tyne Bridge more expansive, one foot firmly rooted in Gateshead and the other in  Newcastle. Gateshead Millennium Bridge - ambitious regeneration

I first met with Vikas Kumar the Director of GEM Arts based at The Old Town Hall, Gateshead. Vic is working with me as the key arts partner in the area. He’s always shown great enthusiasm and energy for the project because he gets it and can see its potential.

Together we then met with Stephen Greenwood and Janet Owen of MESMAC North East who made us feel very welcome over a tasty cuppa. We got the lowdown on the LGBT health sector including some of the key challenges in the city region and neighbouring boroughs.

We met with Gez Casey, the Literary Manager of Live Theatre in the afternoon and had a quick tour of the building. Live Theatre is a new writing producing theatre. It was founded as a radical theatre company with a strong regional identity; making work about working class communities and taking the work out to pubs and clubs.

We then went to Pride Café in the so-called Pink Triangle – LGBT area of Newcastle – and met with John Harrison, the proprietor. Pride Café is a bar with community room upstairs. The bar downstairs runs as a commercial business. It has another arm, the NGS Trust which exists to offer an alternative to the commercial gay scene with an interest in community development. I’m planning on presenting my workshop performance with dramatic monologues in the community room later in the year.

At the end of the day, Vic and I then went back to the office and had a post-meetings debrief. It’s always more useful to meet folk in person and see them in their habitat where possible. By the end of this day, the romanticised notion of Newcastle was becoming more tangible, at least in relation to the project’s parameters.



SandwellLGBTCelebrationJoin Sandwell LGBT communities and their friends on 20th June at Smethwick Library with special guest Damian Barr.

Smethwick Library’s a late Victorian building on the High Street. SmethwickLibrary

We ran many a session there during my BCT days for local communities.

The Last Outing


A really important piece of research is currently being undertaken exploring end of life experiences and care needs of older LGBT people led by Dr Kathryn Almack at the University of Nottingham, funded by Marie Curie Cancer Care Research Programme. The criteria for participation in The Last Outing. are: currently residing in UK; identifying as LGBT; aged 60 (or aged under 60 but have a partner or a person for whom they care who identifies as LGBT who is aged 60+). Please disseminate widely to relevant people and agencies. The project runs until August 2014.


1 min 11 edit


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).