How Trikone Gave Queer South Asians a Voice

In 1986, one group started a movement that would connect thousands across the world and help them find home.

1986-SFPride-DefiningSouthAsia-ArvindLeftmost (1) Trikone
Arvind Kumar and the Trikone group at the 1986 San Francisco Pride Parade (Courtesy of Arvind Kumar)

Ayesha Le Breton


June 5, 2024


10 min

In January 1986, Arvind Kumar, and his friend, who wrote under the pseudonym Suvir Das, issued a six-page print callout to fellow gay South Asian men and women all over the world. “Write to us, tell us about yourself and what you think,” the duo wrote. “What better way to let other people know that you exist than to share with them your thoughts.” Among the respondents was Ashok Jethanandani, whose partner came across Kumar and Das’s open letter in The Advocate, an LGBT magazine, and read it out to Jethanandani. “Then, on an Indian letterhead with meticulously beautiful Indian designs, [Ashok] writes a letter to someone he’s never met,” recalled Kumar.

Kumar’s callout would connect over a thousand others, and marked the beginning of Trikon, the first support group and newsletter for gay South Asians. Trikon, meaning triangle in Sanskrit, was a reclamation of the upside-down pink triangle Nazi concentration camps used to identify gay prisoners. The symbol gained popularity in the 1980s as an emblem of LGBT pride — fitting for two gay Indian friends in California on a quest to find others like themselves.

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