Due to social, cultural, religious, and colonial influences, some individuals in South Asian communities can have a tough time coming out. After all, LGBT issues, like many subjects about sexuality, often remain a taboo subject on the South Asian subcontinent and colonial-era antigay legislation was reinstated in India in 2013.
One local group that has been helping to address LGBT issues for South Asian people has been Sher Vancouver.
After recently marching in both the Vancouver and Surrey Vaisakhi parades for the first time to increase LGBT visibility in local communities, the group received a number of inquiries from South Asian queer youth and their families who are searching for support and assistance.
In response, the group is now launching a monthly peer support group for youth.
The group is open to South Asian youth who identify as LGBT, queer, or questioning, and are between 16 to 30 years old.
Participants will be able to share their stories, receive support, and meet others to help counter feelings of loneliness, confusion, rejection, or exclusion. It will be led by youth facilitators, screened by Sher Vancouver. The group may address issues such as coming out, isolation, rejection, sexual or gender identity, discrimination, and more.
The group will meet next to the King George SkyTrain Station (9875 King George Boulevard) in Surrey on the last Sunday of each month from 1 to 4 p.m. The first group will meet this Sunday (April 30).
Participants will also be able to receive support and assistance from Sher Vancouver founder Alex Sangha, who is a registered clinical social worker.