Aashish Kumar is the creator of Body, Home, and World: South Asian LGBTQ+ Journeys
Body, Home, World: South Asian LGBTQ+ Journeys is an online digital documentary platform that aims to let intergenerational members of the South Asian diaspora share their experiences of being queer.
Launched by New York-based documentary producer and academic, Aashish Kumar, this initiative draws from the lived reality of queer people with a South Asian heritage, allowing them to express their journey of selfhood (Body), family (Home), and the larger community (World).
Opening up the conversation about sexual and gender identities, Body, Home, World: South Asian LGBTQ+ Journeys recognises the unique challenges faced by immigrants and communities of colour when it comes to their queerness.
“It is a recognition that in many immigrant and communities of color, the family dialogue on sexual and gender identities is fraught with tension and risk, and that the spaces for safe inquiry, consultation, and advocacy are few and far between,” says Kumar.
“It is our hope that these narratives will create a sense of shared experience, an empathic stepping-in-the-shoes, and aid in the shaping of a community that is respectful, inclusive, and internally diverse.”
Utilising this virtual meeting-square, a space is created where South-Asian families, LGBTQ+ identifying individuals and allies can begin a project of compassionate and vibrant dialogue on communities of colour. The project looks to present a living history of migration, sexuality, family, colonialism and gender in order to see how these co-exist in the lives of queer people with South Asian heritage.
This intersectional approach has been favoured by both academics and activists for quite a while now, as it takes into account the many factors that may influence an individual’s lived experience.
Body, Home, World: South Asian LGBTQ+ Journeys premiered on 24 February, launching the first set of five episodes about one family’s journey, and had a second premiere of stories on 18 April, including participants from across the world sharing their own tales of coming to terms with being queer or accepting a family member that is LGBTQ+.
All stories are uploaded to a beautiful online platform where they can be viewed after official events.
Considering that many South Africans have South Asian roots, the creators of Body, Home, World: South Asian LGBTQ+ Journeys have extended an invitation to South African participants and their families to also join the conversation and give a glimpse of how the different intersectional nodes that contribute to their experience have an influence on their lives.
If you would like to get involved with Body, Home, World: South Asian LGBTQ+ Journeys, please reach out via the project’s Facebook page. To see some of the stories already featured, visit the Body, Home, World: South Asian LGBTQ+ Journeys website, and follow the instructions on the screen to learn more.