Running through May and June in San Francisco, the 10th Annual United States of Asian America Festival showcases over 75 Asian Pacific Islander artists in the the fields of dance, music, visual art, theater and multidisciplinary performance. The festival’s diverse program includes a May 26 show by the Spotlight Stealerz, an LA-based performing troupe comprised of writers Adelina Anthony (“Mastering Sex and Tortillas”), D’Lo (“Ballin’ With My Bois”) and Alison De La Cruz (“Sungka”). The Stealerz use comedy to “weave individual stories and group sketches together to explore a range of issues within their multiple experiences, identities and communities (Xicana, Tamil Sri-Lankan, Filipino, lesbian, queer, stud, immigrant, mixed-race).”
You can see more of Spotlight Stealer D’Lo, a Tamil Sri Lankan-American performer, writer and music producer with a background in piano, ethnomusicology, hip-hop, dance and more, at upcoming shows across the country, including “Ramble-ations: A One D’Lo Show”—an attempt at fusing together elements of her being on stage: “Gay Hindu Hip Hop—These three things make me but don’t allow for one another.”
Amjeed Kamil, 35, has just released his debut novel.
Straightening Ali is about “family ties,” “conflicting cultures” and love. It is the story of a British Pakistani gay man whose family pressures him to enter an arranged marriage. And although a work of fiction, the narrative rings true to life.
Last month, CNN’s Seth Doane filed this video report from New Delhi, bringing attention to the struggles often concomitant with being gay in India.
“Being gay in India can get one thrown into jail in this country because of a section of the Indian Penal Code (Section 377) which criminalizes same-sex relationships,” Doane says. “The law, drafted in the 1860s when the British were still ruling … India, states: ‘Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature … shall be punished with imprisonment … and shall also be liable to fine’.”
Members of India’s LGBT communities report feeling marginal and unsafe says Doane. Some gay men see marriage as a ‘way out.’
Gautam Bhan is a Delhi-based queer rights activist and author of the book Because I Have A Voice. “A lot of gay men use marriage to be free. A lot of gay men use marriage in order to be with their boyfriends,” says Bhan, “You can wear a tiara and a ballgown … but if someone asks you, and you say: ‘Well, no, no I have a wife,’ then you’re done, you’re clear. You can do whatever want.”
Amjeed Kamil on MySpace and elsewhere
The Naz Foundation supports members of India’s LGBT communities
Read Gautam Bhan’s blog
Purchase Straightening Ali
Facebook gets rid of Arab LGBT group at the request of Saudi, Egyptian governments
India opens its first condom bar