May 31, 2021
There will be no Pride parades in many parts of the world this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that won’t stop the LGBTQIA community from exchanging their stories, supporting each other in their challenges, and finding creative ways to celebrate love.For decades, queer people in countries with social and systemic transphobia and homophobia have risked their lives to nurture underground LGBT networks, so community members can have small pockets of safety to be themselves in South Asia and its diaspora.
Even though, in several South Asian countries, same-sex relationships are still punishable by law. But things are slowly, yet surely looking up. Nepal — arguably the most LGBT-friendly country in South Asia — decriminalized same-sex relationships in 2007, and India followed suit 11 years later. Pakistan and Sri Lanka introduced anti-transphobia laws in the last decade. The most recent update comes from Bhutan, who also legalized same-sex relationships this year. However, even with laws in place, queer and trans citizens still face rampant violence and battle social stigma.
In honor of Pride Month 2021, we bring you some of our best coverage about queer Brown history, icons, and future from both South Asia and around the world. Want to know about how Pakistani trans women are using TikTok to celebrate their lives and take up space? How about a dissection of why British Parsi icon Freddie Mercury’s Brownness was stripped from his image in the media? Ever wondered why South Asia’s “third gender” identifies as such?
We’ve got you. Here are 15 stories you can bookmark now and read throughout the month to polish up on your queer Brown knowledge.