Friday, February 17, 2012

Article: Muslim and Asian groups get greater Mardi Gras exposure | Star Online

Muslim and Asian groups get greater Mardi Gras exposure

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This year's Sydney Mardi Gras will see the biggest involvement from the Australian Muslim community to date, while there is much on offer from the Asian Australian community as well.

Marching group Muslims Against Homophobia is participating in the parade for the second time. Spokeswoman Alice Aslan said the group was about visibility and acceptance.

"We are proudly representing queer Muslims and by being very visible we are trying to inspire everyone from a Muslim background and Muslims in Australia to get involved in this campaign," she said.

Aslan said she found it was becoming easier in Muslim communities to talk about issues of same-sex attraction.

"There is now a movement by gay and lesbian Muslims in both Eastern countries and Western countries and I think that makes it easier for Muslims in general, not only in Australia, to talk about these issues."

This year's Queer Thinking program features sessions titled 'Do you see me? Behind the mask of the Asian gay man' and 'I am a Queer Muslim' featuring Melbourne-based lawyer and social justice activist Alyena Mohummadally.

'I am a Queer Muslim' is presented by Muslims Against Homophobia. To the group's knowledge, this is the first time a Muslim group has presented an official Mardi Gras event.

The sessions will be held on February 25 at the Seymour Centre.

Also on February 25, members of Sydney's LGBTI Filipino community will battle it out at Petersham RSL to become Mardi Gras King and Queen of the Night in the Masque variety show. Magician Jonas Jost and the Trikone and Mindana dancers will perform.

Masque is a fundraiser for ACON's Gay Asian Men's Project.

Then the Unmask exhibition on February 28 explores the diversity of NSW's Asian gay community and aims to capture the essence of what it means to be Asian, male and gay.

A-Men, a new photo essay book produced by the Gay Asian Men's Project which captures the crossroads of art, sexuality and cultural identity, will be launched at the exhibition. There will also be a fashion runway show as well as music and cultural dance performances.


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