Indian Rainbow Community seeks funding on GiveOUT Day

 

The programme runs until Monday, October 24, 2022

Venkat Raman
Auckland, October 20, 2022

As a part of its policy of Inclusion and Social Cohesion, Indian Newslink supports the Rainbow Indian Community in New Zealand.

Interested readers, may join others and donate to the Indian Origin Pride New Zealand, (IOPNZ) an organisation that promotes this community. Today, Thursday, October 20, 2022, is a Special day, selected as GiveOUT Day.

The Organisation is seeking New Zealand to support its online fundraising efforts today.

Donations can be made at https://giveout.org.nz/indianoriginpride or here,

The donation portal opened at 7 pm on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, and will close at the end of Monday, October 24, 2022, which is the Labour Weekend Holiday.

“The money raised will help IOPNZ enter Rainbow and Indian festivals like Pride and Diwali. Donations raised by Indian Origin Pride NZ on GiveOUT Day are doubled by corporate sponsors. Donate to help double the funds. It is important that we rally to support and celebrate Rainbow Indians and their families,” Arrun Soma said.

Moushumi Das, Board Member, Indian Origin Pride New Zealand

Moushumi Das, Indian Origin Pride NZ Board member

‘But… you are Indian. Indians cannot be Rainbow. You are so feminine!’

This is just one of many responses I received when I first came out about ten years ago.

It was a time fraught with uncertainty, anxiety and self-doubt. Many times, I thought, maybe I should just never live this life. Suppress it. Change myself. I do not deserve to be in a happy, functional and loving relationship because I am different, because I will bring shame to my family. Onto my parents and myself.

I know now of course that I could not have possibly suppressed it or changed myself, because there is absolutely nothing wrong with me or others like me.

India opens up to the Rainbow

Ten years is a long time. The world has changed at breakneck speed and with this has also come important milestones for the Indian rainbow community. Since I came out, India’s Supreme Court ruled that gay sex is no longer a criminal offence, LGBTQIA+ stories have been told on the Bollywood silver screen, and more countries have legalised gay marriage.

Celebrating Diwali at the Indian High Commission in Wellington: Police Commissioner Andrew Coster and Superintendent Rakesh Naidoo with (from left) Kiran Patel, Hugh Singh and Sam Malage (Photo Supplied)

As a society, however, Rainbow Indians are still hidden. We are there, but not there. We exist by being invisible.

When I was asked to join Indian Origin Pride New Zealand (IOPNZ) as a board member, I first took a double take. What? A Rainbow organisation for Desi’s? Where was this when I was growing up?! What a fabulous idea!

And what a fabulous journey it has been. From our launch in Parliament in May this year to meeting our volunteers, and forming allies with other groups, we have been met with nothing but support and love. Each time we have collaborated with New Zealand-based Indian organisations, a common theme has arisen in these meetings; why has it taken so long for an organisation like this to be born when there is such a desperate need for rainbow support in our community?
Rejection and fear continue to daunt

Stigma. Fear. Lack of acceptance. Depression. Suicidality. Family disownment. Community ostracism. Sad to say, I have, so far, not met a single desi member of our Rainbow community who has not been through at least one of the above. And this does not only affect the rainbow person; but also, their parents, siblings and friends – no one is spared when we as a society discard or ignore our rainbow community members.

So, friends, help us help our people. IOPNZ was created so that nobody has to deal with coming out and staying out on their own. We want to provide a safe and inclusive space for both rainbow members and allies to find support, to provide resources to help with conflict and coming out, and to simply be themselves.

Help us make Rainbow Indians and people of Indian origin feel proud of who they are.

People of Indian origin come from a marvellous heritage of rich culture, a multitude of languages, and vast spiritual wisdom and belong to one of the oldest civilisations in the world. Being Rainbow does not change any of that. We are all humans of the same source.

A Volunteer at the Taranaki Festival (Photo Supplied)

I was fortunate. I have friends and family who did not even bat an eyelid when I came out to them. I work in an industry where we are expected to act with kindness and neutrality, and I have yet to experience workplace discrimination because of my sexuality. I know however that I am the exception, not the rule. This must change. And you can help us.

Please donate generously. Support our work if this article and my story have resonated with you. You never know who is suffering because they cannot be their authentic selves; who cannot face their families or communities; and who have nowhere to turn. Your donations allow organisations like ours to give a voice and standing to our many members who are still in the shadows, waiting for when it is safe to finally breathe.

Moushumi Das is a Member on the Board of Indian Origin Pride New Zealand

 

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