The Love That Knows Much Shame – can you be both LGBT and South Asian in Britain today?

23/05/2014 -23/05/2014
Southbank Centre in partnership with Bobby Tiwana, Safar (Beneath the Surface)
Free Ticketed Event
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PRESS RELEASE - for immediate use – 7 May 2014

The Love That Knows Much Shame – can you be both LGBT and South Asian in Britain today? Panel Discussion

23 May, 6pm, Free event

Part of Southbank Centre’s Alchemy festival (15 -26 May), London, UK.

The Love That Knows Much Shame is a panel discussion on being LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) and South Asian in Britain today, taking place on 23 May as part of the fifth anniversary of Southbank Centre’s Alchemy festival, produced in partnership with Bobby Tiwana of Safar (Beneath the Surface).

The arrival of Same Sex Marriage legislation was a catalyst for the panel discussion. LGB Theatre Producer and Cultural Activist, Bobby Tiwana says, “On the one hand we’ve this landmark, momentous milestone in equality for gay men and women, and on the other we’ve still a situation where most South Asians still feel unable to come out to their parents and families. It is baffling! As a South Asian gay man I understand the status quo and feel compelled to start a discussion about it and Alchemy offers a great platform for this to take place.”

It is widely researched and understood that people from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities have higher rates of alcohol and drug dependency, are more likely to suffer from depression and mental health problems, are more likely to self-harm and to have attempted suicide. There is much progressive work being done to support LGBT people but what impact does this have on the lives of British South Asians?

The event will look at what it means to be LGBT and South Asian: what choices people make to navigate the different aspects of their identity, what they have to give up in order to be accepted elsewhere; and if the two can co-exist in harmony? The bulk of the discussion will explore how to move towards a more progressive future: do we need role models and if so what sort? Do we need to cultivate and see more representations of South Asian LGBT people across art forms and in the media? What positive stories exist that offer hope on a dimly lit subject? What work needs to be done with communities and families? And how can broader society support this process? The broader context will reference recent conflicting laws in the Indian subcontinent.

The panel will offer insight from their respective areas stimulating an interactive facilitated audience discussion.

The panel comprises:

Aashi Gahlot, Founder and Editor-in-Chief at SHOR, a creative online portal reflecting South Asian LGBTQ lives worldwide; a creative writer, activist, journalist and freelance translator for film and TV.

Harjit Sarang, a Lawyer specialising in parenting for infertile, gay, and lesbian couples; an LGBT activist and equality campaigner.

Fiyaz Mughal OBE FCMI, Director of Faith Matters, working to reduce extremism, interfaith and intra-faith tensions; a background in community and voluntary sector social policy, lobbying and conflict resolution; a former Councillor for Haringey and Oxford.

Bobby Tiwana, Theatre Producer and cultural activist, currently producing an LGB theatre narrative, born out of research with communities across England.

“We are proud that Southbank Centre is a place where the LGBT community are welcomed as artists, visitors and contributors and regularly take the lead in many of the most prominent and popular aspects of our programme. As a festival that responds to and reflects on contemporary issues in the arts and the wider cultural and social context in which we live, it is important for this event to be a key part of the Alchemy 2014 festival.” Rachel Harris, Alchemy Curator.

Southbank Centre’s Alchemy festival (15 – 26 May) was first launched in 2010 to celebrate and explore the culture and politics of the countries of the Indian subcontinent and their relationship with the UK, working with a range of both international and UK artists. The festival, now in its fifth year, explores the relationship these cultures have with the UK through a range of exciting new collaborations, premieres of new work, talks, discussions and performances by artists across a range of genres, including music, design, comedy and debate.

The Love that Knows Much Shame takes place on Friday 23 May, 6pm, Southbank Centre, London, SE1 8XX.

Event booking page


Notes to editors:

For all press and media enquires please contact Bobby Tiwana.

Bobby Tiwana, LGB Theatre Producer and Cultural Activist

For further information about the Alchemy festival please contact Lara Delaney

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery as well as The Saison Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. For further information please visit

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