Times Ahead

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: November 9, 2016

Media Contact: Monish, Communications Director, communications@trikone.org, (844) 90-3-KONE ext. 4

TIMES AHEAD

As we all woke up today, we noticed that the upcoming times have changed.

Let’s take our time to mourn or celebrate or be indifferent to what the future holds.

But once we have had time to process our emotions, let’s be sure and assured that we shall all be together, a united diversity and one community.

Whether or not something affects you directly shouldn’t be your yardstick. If anyone hurts, we all do. If anyone bleeds, we all do.

This is the time when every letter of our sprawling LGBTQ community within the effervescent South Asian community comes, stays, grows and stands together.

E Pluribus Unum

Trikone Mourns Orlando Shooting Incident, Worries Of Islamophobia

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: June 12, 2016

Media Contact: Monish, Communications Director, communications@trikone.org, (844) 90-3-KONE ext. 4

TRIKONE MOURNS ORLANDO SHOOTING INCIDENT, WORRIES OF ISLAMOPHOBIA

Trikone is in mourning as we send our heartfelt condolences to the victims, their families and friends; and endless get-well wishes to those recovering from the tragedy.

In a month when we proudly acclaim the achievements of our LGBTQ community, it pains to listen to the news of yet another mass shooting. A hate filled action with no basis in cultured and common sense society. The deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. history also reminds us of still prevailing hatred towards our LGBTQ community and reminds us that there is so much work to be done.

We wonder, how many more lives need to be lost before any action is taken to curb the senseless gun violence.

Queer people have been victims for years. Being South Asians affects us as a whole whenever there’s a rise in islamophobia. And those who are Muslims amongst us, are always questioned both from within and outside the community.

We join our many allies and their voices in urging our community and our straight allies to refrain from rhetoric that lays responsibility on any one community. Individual behaviour is not a representation of any one faith, race, ethnicity or gender. We need to be mindful of the narrations we choose to showcase for they may have a rippling effect. Giving in to emotions will only lead to uncontrolled backlash which affects all of us.

Trikone comprises of not just South Asian LGBTQ people but many of us are Muslim by faith. Actions like these make our many identities worry about their coexistence and fuel disbeliefs. We urge everyone to inculcate compassion and empathy in these times. Time and again there has been clear contradiction against the popular narrative of Islam and Homosexuality being at odds. Trikone stands firm with all our community members irrespective of the faith they identify and follow as such.

There will be attempts to fuel this into a fire. There will be attempts to divide our community with ideologies and dialogues. We urge you to use caution and refuse to participate in such unnecessary backlash. It will only delay the healing process.

Let’s stand united against bigotry, racism, and homophobia; and strive to uphold the right of every human being to a right to live irrespective of race, religion, creed, gender, orientation, ethnicity or colour. Let’s create a safe space for our fellow community members.

Trikone Applauds SCOTUS Decision Furthering LGBTQ Rights

June 26, 2015

PRESS RELEASE
Trikone
For immediate release

TRIKONE APPLAUDS SCOTUS DECISION FURTHERING LGBTQ RIGHTS

Trikone applauds the majority decision today by the Supreme Court of the United States to recognize the civil right for same-sex couples to marry and the unconstitutionality of the state marriage bans. South Asian LGBTQ groups have long awaited political recognition that would allow us to benefit from the same political institutions.

But our fight is far from over. Even with the long awaited recognition of marriage equality, Trikone recognizes that the LGBTQ community still has many battles to fight before true “equality” can be achieved. The silencing of Jennicet Guitierrez, a trans woman of color, by the President earlier this week serves as a reminder of the political exclusion of trans people and immigrant groups from human rights and equality. It is dangerous to think our work is over; the murder of trans people of color and their invisibility in the larger march towards gay equality signals that we still have much to do. While we celebrate this most recent victory over Pride weekend, it is important to remain vigilant that very anti-queer, anti-black, and xenophobic inequalities that disenfranchise people of color endure. Very little has changed for many. Trikone is committed to fighting for the dignity and respect of our larger community.

Media Contacts:
Monica Davis,
Chairperson, Trikone
1-775-5-SF-TRIK (1-775-573-8745)
chairperson@trikone.org

A Week of Queer South Asian Rage

November 26, 2014

PRESS RELEASE
QSANN, the Queer South Asian National Network
For immediate release

A WEEK OF QUEER SOUTH ASIAN RAGE

We live in a nation that doesn’t value our lives. President Barack Obama insists that we live in a “nation of laws”. He’s right; we do. We live in a nation of laws where we, as people of color, as immigrants, are less than human. We are denied the right to be with our families, to feel safe in public space, to be American, to live. We are a nation of laws that do not protect us. We are a nation of laws designed to keep us out, to keep us scared, and to keep us running.

As a national network of queer South Asians, it’s been a rough week. We witnessed a huge victory and an utter disappointment in President Obama’s announcement of administrative relief around immigration. As a community of immigrants and the descendants of immigrants, these decisions impact us. We celebrate those of us whose lives will be immeasurably improved by deferred action and temporary protection from deportation, and we mourn with those who will continue to face the daily fears and indignities of being seen as “illegal” simply because they lack papers. We celebrate improvements to DACA and our visa system, while waiting to find out how LGBT families will be affected by this ruling.

We also mourn the failure of our American justice system to indict Darren Wilson. We watched, enraged, as yet another murder of a young unarmed Black man went unanswered. We watched as news networks immediately focused on the ‘violence’ of protesters who demanded Black life be valued, instead of focusing on the failure of our ‘justice system’ to condemn state-sanctioned violence. We stand with Mike Brown, and Ferguson, and we understand that while we will never experience the degree of violence that Black people are subject to every day, our struggles are deeply connected.

Although we are also people of color in the U.S., our South Asian experiences of state violence vary greatly. As race, class and the model minority myth intertwine, many of us cannot understand the deep-seated fear of police shared by so many communities of color. And yet, depending on our access to wealth, immigration status, perceived religion, gender presentation, skin color, and more – many of us also experience state violence and police brutality regularly. We are stopped and frisked, beaten and bloodied, by the police. We continue to be surveilled, apprehended and deported, dealing with the onslaught of overt and covert Islamophobic attacks in a post-9/11 world. We fear for the safety and lives of our brothers, and our siblings, especially those who look darker, bearded and threatening. We fear that they too may be disappeared, beaten, taken. We know that their only crime is their perceived proximity to “terror” and to Blackness. Racism against us as South Asians does not exist in a vacuum; the racism we experience builds on long-standing systems of anti-Black racism and Islamophobia in the U.S. We know that our own liberation is inextricably bound to the struggle for Black lives and immigrant lives to matter in this country.

As queer and trans* people, especially of color, we face violence sanctioned by the state, by police, and by ICE. Queer people, trans* people, and especially transwomen are disproportionately sentenced to solitary confinement, and solitary detention, for no crime other than our sexuality or gender. As queer people, we also face different forms of intimate violence, too often sanctioned by our families, our communities, and those we love. Despite the rhetoric of family unification so prevalent in the immigrant rights’ movement, many of us, though not all of us, understand family as an intimate site of contestation. Many of us are used to having difficult conversations with those closest to us, coming out endlessly about our sexualities, our genders, our politics, and more. As queer people, we know that violence comes in many forms, and that our families, given and chosen, are also sites of struggle.

In light of these recent events, we re-commit ourselves to bringing the revolution home. We re-commit ourselves to talking about Ferguson with those closest to us. We pledge to combat the anti-Black and anti-immigrant sentiments that run rampant in so many queer and South Asian spaces at the most basic level – interpersonal, one by one, within our families, however we define them. We promise to do the inter-community work that only we can do. As we paint signs, show up to rallies, raise our collective voices and stand in solidarity – we also commit to doing the work in the spaces where it’s often hardest, in the many places we call home.

As queer South Asian organizers, activists, brothers, sisters, siblings, friends, and more, we stand with immigrants, with Black communities, with communities of color, and with the people of Ferguson. Black lives matter. Immigrant lives matter. We demand that our “nation of laws” recognize us all as human, as whole people deserving of respect and dignity. We stand together until none of us are left behind.

We’ll meet you at home, and we’ll see you in the streets.

QSANN, the Queer South Asian National Network, is a network of queer South Asian organizations across the U.S.

For QSANN,
email.qsann@gmail.com
Full Statement on QSANN website.

San Francisco Demands: “Modi, End 377!”

June 29, 2014

PRESS RELEASE
Trikone
For immediate release

SAN FRANCISCO DEMANDS: “MODI, END 377”

Over 40 South Asian human rights advocates marched the streets of San Francisco during San Francisco Pride, demanding that India’s newly-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi overturn Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 377 is a law instituted by British colonizers in 1860 outlawing “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” – a law best known for criminalizing consensual sexual intercourse between adults of the same sex.

“Section 377 is an outdated ban on homosexual sex imposed by the British Raj in the Commonwealth countries. While Britain stopped using 377 in the 1970s, versions of this bad law are continued through colonial legacy”, explained Monica Davis, Chairperson of Trikone, the oldest South Asian LGBTQ organization in the world. “Trikone encourages Prime Minister Modi to strike down Section 377 because this law violates an individual’s right to privacy, equality, and life with dignity. We stand with the multitude of groups in India calling for an end to this regressive colonial law”.

“We call on Prime Minister Modi to repeal Section 377”, stated Devika Ghai from the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA), an all-volunteer group working to educate, organize, and empower Bay Area South Asian communities to end violence, oppression, racism and exploitation. “The harshest effects of 377 are often felt by those who also hold other marginalized identities, often on the basis of caste, class, and gender discrimination. Repealing Section 377 would be a step towards a country that abides by the principles of constitutional morality set by its founders”, she added.

“We hear from our partners in India that the struggles of millions of working class LGBTQ people remain largely invisible”, stated Renu Pariyadath, a member of the Association for India’s Development’s (AID). “The groups AID supports report that many LGBTQ individuals who are a part of movements for land rights, Adivasi (indigenous people’s) rights, and environmental justice are sometimes invisible as LGBTQ people, which further deprives them of rights and resources from their larger communities. AID agrees with these groups on the ground that the punitive use of Section 377 will affect particularly harshly, those communities that are doubly marginalized by their sexuality and socio-economic circumstances, such as many hijras (intersex/transsexual/transgender people), sex workers, and working class people”.

On this day of annual celebration of Pride worldwide, it is only fitting that the South Asian diaspora joins hands to demand an end to an unjust law that violates the very basic human rights of LGBTQ individuals in India. We stand in support of human rights advocates in India, including the Humsafar Trust’s petition to Prime Minister Modi.

Five Facts About Section 377 in India:

  1. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was drafted by British colonizers in 1860, who put similar laws in place in dozens of other nations, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, the Maldives, Australia, and others
  2. In India, Section 377 has been used as the basis for harassment, blackmail, extortion, and physical and sexual abuse
  3. The Delhi High Court overturned Section 377 in 2009, a widely celebrated decision later overturned in 2013 by the Supreme Court, which reinstated the law, while suggesting that Parliament should decide on the issue
  4. Prime Minister Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has thus far refused to stop backing the colonial Section 377 law, even as leaders in every other major national party have called for its repeal
  5. Given the strength of its parliamentary majority, Prime Minister Modi and the BJP have an unprecedented opportunity to end 377 and rid India of outdated colonial laws

For ASATA,
Devika Ghai
650‌-644‌-6142
devika.ghai‌@‌gmail.com

For Trikone,
Monica Elise Davis
Chairperson, Trikone (San Francisco)
775‌-573‌-8745
chairperson‌@‌trikone.org

South Asian LGBTQ Groups in North America Disappointed with India’s Supreme Court Ruling, Recriminalizing Homosexual Sex

December 12, 2013

PRESS RELEASE
Trikone
For immediate release

SOUTH ASIAN LGBTQ GROUPS IN NORTH AMERICA DISAPPOINTED WITH INDIA’S SUPREME COURT RULING, RECRIMINALISING HOMOSEXUAL SEX
Groups Organizing Coordinated Protests this Friday, December 13, across the U.S.

As South Asian LGBTQ organizations based in North America, we are shocked and disappointed by the Indian Supreme Court’s decision to re-criminalize homosexual sex in India by reactivating Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

377 is an arcane and draconian ban on homosexual sex that was imposed by the British Raj across South Asia and other colonies in the 19th century. It should have no bearing on the present-day rights of citizens in free countries. We stand with awe-inspiring Indian LGBTQ activists and allies who have fought for decades to repeal the ban and are heartened by the millions of Indians who oppose it. We are more determined than ever to help remove the indignity of 377 from the Constitutions of not just India, but all countries where it was forcibly levied.

Make no mistake: the Supreme Court has taken away fundamental rights that their own judicial peers convincingly argue are guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. In 2009, in a historic decision rooted in Indian jurisprudence and culture, the Indian High Court of Delhi declared 377 unconstitutional. For 150 years, 377 was used to brutally persecute sexual minorities across the country, and the Delhi Court correctly argued that the violent and foreign law contradicted the Constitution’s promise of absolute dignity and equality for all Indian citizens. Its decision effectively decriminalized homosexual sex across India for over four years – profound progress that the Supreme Court invalidated yesterday.

Where the Delhi Court’s ruling was bold and powerful, the Supreme Court’s decision is heartbreakingly timid. In overturning the Delhi decision and reinforcing 377, the Court side-stepped many questions on the merits of the case, and provided superficial and incorrect assessments of the rest. Ignoring history altogether, it claimed that 377 does not discriminate against any group, but “merely identifies certain acts” as illegal. The bench also implied that protecting the rights of LGBTQ persons was not their job but that of the Indian Parliament.

The Court is wrong.

The Indian Constitution not only empowers the judiciary but also requires it to protect minority rights. Rather than proving itself equal to the task, India’s highest court has sent the dangerous message that minority rights should be vulnerable to the whims of the majority. Its decision is nothing short of a dereliction of their duty to uphold the Constitution.

But the fight is not over. Activists of all stripes are determined to defeat 377. We stand in solidarity with activists from Naz Foundation, the lead plaintiff calling for a repeal of 377; Humsafar Trust, a leading HIV/AIDS and sexual minority support and advocacy group in India; Voices Against 377, a diverse group of organizations and Indian leaders who oppose the ban; and countless other groups, writers, activists, politicians and community organizers that have worked tirelessly to construct growing spaces where LGBTQ people can live without fear of violence or discrimination in India. We are deeply inspired by their renewed determination to repeal 377. As immigrant-based groups, we are especially concerned about the impact this setback will have on South Asians who worry that their government does not welcome them. In the days to come, we will create spaces where fair-minded South Asians can protest the Supreme Court’s decision, support each other and assist leaders of the cause.

As a start, this Friday December 13th, South Asian LGBTQ organizations are organizing a series of coordinated candlelight vigils across the United States and Canada to lend some light to the Indian government, because the Supreme Court decision on IPC 377 demonstrates the degree to which India is still in the dark.

We have also created a YouTube channel for members of our communities to voice their anguish, concern, and solidarity via video message.

Please check our Facebook and Twitter feeds, or email organizational leads for details about these and future initiatives. In your social media comments, please use #377updates and #377insolidarity so we can compile our community’s responses.

In solidarity,

KhushDC

Khush – Tejas

MASALA

SALGA – New York

SALGA – Philadelphia

Satrang

Trikone

Trikone – Atlanta

Trikone – Chicago

Trikone – North-West

hotpot! Philly

For Satrang,
Almas Haider
Chair, Satrang (Los Angeles, California)
213-308-2150
almas.haider1@gmail.com

For KhushDC,
Sapna Pandya
President, KhushDC (Washington, DC)
202-641-8207
president@khushdc.org

For Trikone,
Monica Elise Davis
Advocacy Director, Trikone (San Francisco)
562-754-0022
advocacy@trikone.org

Trikone would like to commend SCOTUS decision to overturn DOMA

June 26, 2013

PRESS RELEASE
Trikone
For immediate release

TRIKONE WOULD LIKE TO COMMEND SCOTUS DECISION TO OVERTURN DOMA

Trikone would like to commend the majority decision by the Supreme Court of the United States of America to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. Today’s historic decisions will have lasting benefits to our community. Trends are positively shifting for support of same-sex marriages. With the overturn of DOMA, same sex couples who are married in states that recognize same sex marriages as legal will now be able to avail themselves to all of the equal rights and benefits, including the same federal tax, survivor, estate, retirement, and health-care benefits that straight couples already benefit from. The Supreme Court also ruled narrowly ruled on the Proposition 8 case, deciding that the opponents of same-sex marriage who were defending the case have no legal standing to bring the case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, nor the Supreme Court. Essentially, same sex marriage will resume in California.

Trikone is excited for today’s decisions and we also recognize that marriage equality is only a small piece of our community’s broader efforts to reach equality. We will continue to seek justice.

Tonight, we will be celebrating at Castro & Market at 6:30 PM at the “Day of Decision” Block Party & Celebration.

For Trikone,
Monica Davis
Advocacy Director
advocacy@trikone.org

DesiQ 2013 Conference starts with an exclusive movie screening, caps off with a mix & mingle gala

June 12th, 2013

PRESS RELEASE
Trikone
For immediate release

DESIQ CONFERENCE STARTS WITH AN EXCLUSIVE MOVIE SCREENING, CAPS OFF WITH A MIX & MINGLE GALA.

DesiQ 2013, a unique queer South Asian conference kicks off the event on the night of July 3rd by showing Nilanjan Neil Lahiri’s “The Ode” based on the novel, “Ode to Lata” by Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla. The screening will be at the Delancey Street Theater in San Francisco. Confirmed at the screening are two of the movie’s actors, Sachin Bhatt (Bombay Dreams) and Parvesh Cheena (Outsourced). The conference panels and discussions will be from July 4th-6th on the UCSF Mission Bay Campus. Topics are wide-ranging, contemporary and evocative from art to spirituality to politics to sexuality. The international range of presenters include prominent and passionate individuals from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Canada and the United States. Several prominent speakers include Anjali Gopalan, Executive Director of Naz India; Gautham Raghavan, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement; and Madhu Malhotra, Program Director of Gender, Sexuality and Identity at Amnesty International.

The three day conference ends on the night of July 6th at a chic Gala across the bay in Oakland at the Scottish Rite Center. The event will include dining, drinks and dancing. New York’s own DJ Rekha (Basement Bhangra) will be spinning beats poppin’ beats on the dance floor.

Visit the DesiQ 2013 website for registration, schedule, speakers, parties and housing.

For Trikone,
Monica Davis
Advocacy Director
media@desiq.org

Trikone and its allies announce DesiQ 2013

May 1st, 2013

PRESS RELEASE
Trikone
For immediate release

TRIKONE AND ITS ALLIES ANNOUNCE DESIQ 2013

AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SOUTH ASIAN LGBTQ ISSUES HAPPENING JULY 4-6TH WEEKEND IN SAN FRANCISCO

Trikone, the oldest LGBTQ South Asian organization in the world, announces the fourth DesiQ Conference, an international lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) South Asian conference, on July 4-6, 2013 in San Francisco.

Registration is currently open on the DesiQ website.

DesiQ is the only conference in the world that brings together a diverse, powerful, and inspiring group of South Asian LGBTQ activists, allies, artists, leaders, and partners.

The vision of DesiQ 2013 is to create a global powerhouse of South Asian LGBTQ persons working collaboratively to promote equality for queer South Asians. LGBTQ South Asian community leaders and allies will come together to address the economic, political, and social issues affecting our community around the world. Over 35 workshops will be hosted and over a dozen national and international ally organizations will be represented.

More than 250 South Asians are expected to attend three days of plenaries and workshops at University of California Mission Bay Campus, San Francisco. DesiQ will culminate with a gala dinner at the Oakland Scottish Rite Center that will recognize some of the leading South Asian LGBTQ activists across the globe. Notable attendees will be announced by June 1st.

The first DesiQ Conference started in 1995, followed by the second in 2000, and the third in 2006. Previous conferences have had keynote addresses by thought leaders such as Urvashi Vaid (previous Executive Director of Arcus Foundation), Surina Khan (previous Executive Director of IGLHRC), and Samina Ali (a Muslim American ally and author).

The All-in-One Pass starts at US$ 190 and an exclusive Student Pass is offered at US$ 75. Scholarships and sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information, visit DesiQ website.

For Trikone,
Monica Davis
Advocacy Director
media@desiq.org

Trikone applauds US Federal appellate court’s ruling against DOMA

May 31st, 2012

PRESS RELEASE
Trikone
For immediate release

TRIKONE APPLAUDS US FEDERAL APPELLATE COURT’S RULING AGAINST DOMA

In a narrow ruling, a Federal Appeals Court in Massachusetts (First Circuit Court) unanimously declared that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to married same-sex couples. The case was filed by a same-sex couple married in Massachusetts, who under DOMA were prevented from filing joint federal tax returns. The court however was not asked to rule if same-sex couples enjoyed constitutional right to marriage or if individual states have the right to ban same-sex marriage. The court also stayed its’ ruling for the Supreme Court. The Justice Department under the guidance of President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder refused to defend DOMA and the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group convened by Speaker John Boehner defended the law during the trial proceedings. Also this year, two Federal Courts in California have found DOMA unconstitutional, violating the due-process clause of the 14th Amendment. A federal appeals court in California also found Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

Trikone applauds the First Circuit Court’s 3-0 ruling and hopes that the Supreme Court brings prompt justice to pending DOMA cases. That two of the three  Justices presiding in this case were appointed by Republican Presidents makes this ruling a clear cause for upholding civil rights, beyond the partisan rhetoric.

For Trikone,
Harsha Mallajosyula
Advocacy Director
408-332-7468
harsha@trikone.org