LGBTQ Asians Defend California’s Sanctuary Laws


For Release: March 12, 2019

Media Contact: Roberta Sklar, (917) 704-6358,

Amicus brief urges US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to Block Trump Administration’s Challenge to CA Laws Protecting Undocumented Immigrants

Tomorrow, March 13, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will hear oral arguments in U.S. v. California, the Trump Administration’s lawsuit against California’s sanctuary laws that regulate state employers and law enforcement to protect undocumented immigrants from federal harassment and abuse.

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, with the pro bono legal assistance of Weil, Gotshal & Manages LLP, submitted an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief highlighting the special concerns of LGBTQ Asian American immigrants. The brief, joined by 11 other LGBTQ and LGBTQ Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (APIs) groups in California, defends California and illustrates how striking down California’s sanctuary laws would have a direct and outsized impact on the LGBTQ community. The groups signing onto the brief are:

APAIT – a division of Special Service for Groups, Inc.
Asian Pacific Islander Equality – Northern California
Asian Pacific Islander Equality – Los Angeles
Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA), San Francisco, CA
Los Angeles LGBT Center
Network on Justice & Religion, San Francisco, CA
Our Family Coalition, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco LGBT Center
Trikone, San Francisco, CA
United Territories of Pacific Islander Alliances (UTOPIA) San Francisco
Vietnamese Rainbow Orange County (VietROC)

The Trump Administration’s lawsuit seeks to block three laws passed in 2017 that curtail how private employers, local prisons and jails, and local law enforcement work with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).

  • The Immigrant Worker Protection Act (Assembly Bill 450) bars private employers from voluntarily cooperating with ICE and requires businesses to notify workers in advance of an immigration raid.
  • The California Values Act (Senate Bill 54) restricts state and local law enforcement from sharing information with ICE about the release of undocumented people in their custody. It bars the automatic transfer of undocumented persons into federal custody upon release.
  • Public Safety Omnibus (Assembly Bill 103) authorizes state inspections of immigration detention facilities to ensure compliance with California human rights laws.

“The laws have a significant impact on the LGBTQ community because so many of us are immigrants. California rightly decided to protect its residents from Trump’s overly aggressive immigration enforcement, and such laws should be upheld”, said Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA Executive Director.

APIs are the fastest growing racial group in the United States today and the largest segment of new immigrants. An estimated 267,000 undocumented immigrants are LGBT, of which a disproportionate share is API.

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a nationwide federation of LGBT Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (API) organizations. We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT API groups, develop leadership, and expand collaborations to better challenges anti-LGBT bias and racism.

Trikone applauds Supreme Court of India for decriminalising homosexuality!


For Immediate Release: September 6, 2018

Media Contact:, (844) 90-3-KONE


Trikone applauds the unanimous decision by the Supreme Court of India to decriminalise homosexuality. In a historic judgement, the Supreme Court of India on Thursday has struck down the Section 377, a controversial British-era ban on consensual gay sex, reversing its own 2013 decision. A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra gave the the verdict to scrap the law. The Chief Justice, while reading out the verdict said criminalising gay sex is irrational and indefensible.

We have to bid adieu to prejudices and to empower all citizens“, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said, reading out the judgement. Four judges gave a concurrent judgement.

The Chief Justice also said: “No one can escape from their individualism. Society is now better for individualism. In the present case, our deliberations will be on various spectrums“.

Some other quotes were:

  • Section 377 was a weapon to harass members of LGBT community, resulting in discrimination
  • Section 377 is arbitrary. LGBT community possess rights like others. Majoritarian views and popular morality cannot dictate constitutional rights
  • Autonomy of an individual is important. He or she can not surrender it to anyone
  • Homosexuality is not a mental disorder

While we rejoice the moment, let us be aware that the fight is far from over. Fellow South Asian countries such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, etc. still have the British-era Section 377 etched into their penal code.

We hope that the decision by the Supreme Court of India will pave the way for the other countries and their legal system to take note. And we hope that they will start recognising the human rights of the community.

Let’s celebrate any and every good news, while being vigilant that there are miles to go before we stop fighting.

Times Ahead


For Immediate Release: November 9, 2016

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


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

Pearl Jubilee Gala

It was 1986 when Trikone was born for, by and of the South Asian LGBTQ community to come together as a single family and share their moments – ups and downs, highs and lows. Let’s get together to commemorate the 30 years that passed by at the Pearl Jubilee Gala!

Date: Saturday, November 5, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM – 11:59 PM PDT
Venue: Events Center, The Cathedral of St. Mary, 1111 Gough Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
Rating: ( due to the nature of any live event, minors attending this event need to be accompanied by parents and/or legal guardians. )

Tickets: Available at the door – $ 100 (online sales have ended)


  • Public: MUNI lines 38, 38L and 38X serve the location from downtown Montgomery/Powell BART stations
  • Private: Uber is up to $ 20 off your first ride with the promo code gqs9t


  • Event Center: The Event Center has enough available parking spots
  • Street: Street parking is available around the block, on all sides


  • Alcohol will be served on the premises, hence age-proof needs to be carried at all times.
  • To ensure safety and privacy, we request that our attendees refrain from photography. Do ask for permission if a photo needs to be captured.

Trikone Mourns Orlando Shooting Incident, Worries Of Islamophobia


For Immediate Release: June 12, 2016

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


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

For immediate release


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)

Don’t Let Him Know: Author, Sandip Roy reads from his debut novel

Join us as one of our beloved Trikone member celebrates his first debutant novel with San Francisco Bay Area!

Sandip Roy is Senior Editor at the popular news portal and blogs for the Huffington Post. He has been a longtime commentator on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, and has a weekly radio postcard for public radio in the San Francisco Bay Area called, Sandip Roy’s Dispatches from Kolkata. He is also an editor with New America Media. Sandip has won several awards for journalism and contributed to various anthologies including Storywallah!, Contours of the Heart, Because I Have a Voice: Queer Politics in India, Out! Stories from the New Queer India, New California Writing 2011 and The Phobic and the Erotic: The Politics of Sexualities in Contemporary India. Sandip lives in Kolkata.

Sandip was the editor of Trikone Magazine for 52 issues!

Date: Thursday, February 12, 2015
Time: 5 PM – 7 PM PST
Venue: Stephens Hall, 10 (ISAS Conf. Room), UC Berkeley

About the book

In a boxy apartment building in an American university town, Romola Mitra, a newly arrived young bride, anxiously awaits her first letter from home in India. When she accidentally opens the wrong letter, it changes her life. Decades later, her son Amit finds that letter and thinks he has discovered his mother’s secret. But secrets have their own secrets sometimes, and a way of following their keepers.

Amit does not know that Avinash, his dependable and devoted father, lurks on gay Internet groups at times, unable to set aside his lifelong attraction to men. Avinash has no idea that his dutiful wife had once romanced a dashing Bengali filmstar, whose memory she keeps tucked away in a diary amongst her silk saris.

Growing up in Calcutta, in a house bustling with feisty grandmothers, Amit has been shielded from his parents’ secrets. A successful computer engineer, he settles in San Francisco, torn between his new life and his duties towards the one he has left behind.

Moving from adolescent rooftop games to adult encounters in gay bars, from hair salons in Calcutta to McDonald’s drive-thrus in California, Don’t Let Him Know is an unforgettable story about family, the struggle between having what we want and doing what we feel we must – and the sacrifices we make for those we love. Tender, powerful, and beautifully told, Don’t Let Him Know marks the arrival of a brave new voice.

Speaker: Sandip Roy, Author and Journalist
Moderator: Raka Ray, Professor of Sociology and South and Southeast Asia Studies, and Chair of the Department of Sociology
Sponsor: Institute for South Asia Studies

A Week of Queer South Asian Rage

November 26, 2014

QSANN, the Queer South Asian National Network
For immediate release


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.

Full Statement on QSANN website.

San Francisco Demands: “Modi, End 377!”

June 29, 2014

For immediate release


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

Devika Ghai

For Trikone,
Monica Elise Davis
Chairperson, Trikone (San Francisco)

Board Updates – Apr 2014

Trikone is happy to announce another update to its board.

We have a new Chairperson – Monica!

She has been on the board since 2011 and is the most apt choice to lead Trikone. The board unanimously approved her appointment.

Also, our two board members – Madhuri and Ali – have ended their respective terms. We thank them very much for their help and support.

The current board is comprised of –
1. Monica – Chairperson, Interim Advocacy Director and Interim Development Director
2. Mukund – Treasurer
3. Suhas – Outreach Director (in the liaison role)

P.S.: Ali has been appointed as the Interim Secretary and Interim Communications Director until a replacement is sought.

Congratulations to the board!