The “Queer” Asia Conference is the first ever Asia centred conference on Queer and LGBT issues to be held at SOAS, University of London next week on Friday June 10th and Saturday June 11th 2016. This two-day conference aims to bring together a wide range of academics and activists. We wish to look at the various developments affecting 'queer' persons in Asia such as decriminalisation, growing public awareness, resistances to queer, use of technology and the increasing role of the market.
The idea of the Conference was conceived and is being organised by a group of four young researchers at SOAS who work on queer issues in Asia and Aapurv Jain, one of the four students organising the event, has revealed to Attitude why he's organised it.
Jain said: "I personally decided to participate in the conference because from my experience of working on queer issues in academia, in both India and the UK, I felt that there was a need to address the issues of queer people in the Asian context. During my work as an activist in India and after coming to the UK, I felt that queer issues of the global south are sometimes misrepresented by activists in the global north and their actions can sometimes lead to more harm than good to queer people. Hence, it is important for LGBT activists in the global north to interact with LGBT activists in the global south to understand their issues better."
"When I came to the UK for my higher education I felt that the visibility of Asian queers in the mainstream LGBT spaces in the UK was seriously lacking and there were not many safe spaces for queer Asians in the UK. The 'Queer' Asia conference aims to provide that space for queer Asians, where their issues will be discussed and their experiences will be showcased and talked about. The fact that the conference is taking place during the pride month in London will also help in increasing visibility of queer Asians in the mainstream LGBT spaces. This is one of the reasons why we have invited Asifa Lahore, the UK’s first Muslim drag queen to the conference."
Jain adds that LGBT Asians in western countries are perceived to be 'victims' of their culture and religion, but Jain says they're not.
"We wish to tell stories of resistance and negotiations which queer Asians make on an everyday basis to survive, sometimes in some of the most hostile conditions. And 'Queer' Asia aims to provide a platform for that, in the form of panel discussions, academic papers, film-screenings and performances."
He explains that the students want to "start a meaningful dialogue on queer issues in the Asian continent."
Jain hopes that the conference will begin to make a change.
"We also hope that this conference will bring about a change in the way queer Asian issues have been perceived and dealt with in international media, transnational LGBT activism, law reform and development policies."
The conference takes place on Friday June 10 and Saturday June 11 2016 at SOAS, University of London, Russell Square.
if you would like to visit the conference, register for Free at Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/queer-asia-2016-tickets-25008087864
A schedule of the conference is available on: https://queerasia2016.wordpress.com/schedule/
You can find Queer Asia on Facebook
And for any further details, you can contact them at [email protected]
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