This is a moving story of sexuality and acceptance
Books have always been a wonderful escape from the real world.
During the pandemic, many people tried to find ways to break free from the lockdown and reading was one of the best solutions to give your brain a bit of a break.
The pandemic even gave us plenty of time to educate ourselves.
When it comes to South Asia, several topics should not be tackled, such as sexuality.
South Asians find sexuality taboo, but times are changing, and many South Asian LGBTQ+ authors have started to share their journey of self-acceptance with the world.
Here are six books by South Asian LGBTQ+ authors to check out.
A Dutiful Boy by Mohsin Zaidi
In this powerful read, Mohsin Zaidi shows what it is like growing up in a conservative South Asian family as a queer person.
Reading the book, we learn that the author was raised in a “devout Muslim community”, and was the “first person from his school to go to Oxford University”.
He later becomes a barrister and board member of Stonewall, the UK‘s biggest LGBT rights charity.
This is a moving story of sexuality and acceptance, where the author’s struggles and challenges are discovered.
We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib
Again a queer Muslim memoir that everyone should read.
The author asks a powerful question: “How do you find yourself when the world tells you that you don’t exist?”
Samra Habib, a Pakistani Ahmadi Muslim, has spent most of her life searching for the safety to be herself.
After facing regular threats from Islamic extremists, she learnt that revealing her true identity could put her in danger.
When her family moved to Canada as refugees, other challenges get in the way such as bullies, poverty, racism and an arranged marriage.
This book calls for self-acceptance and recognition, and the author begins to explore faith, art, love, and queer sexuality.
The Truth About Me: A Hijra Life Story by A Revathi
What is a Hijra?
Hijra is a term used to refer to the transgender and intersex community, in Pakistan and India.
In this autobiography, the author opens up about what it is like to be seen only as a Hijra and nothing else.
After facing threats, violence, and persecution, Revathi must find safety elsewhere and joins a house of Hijras.
This is a brave self-portrait of identity and much-needed insight into a too often overlooked community.
Moving Truth(s): Queer and Transgender Desi Writing on the Family by Aparajeeta Duttchoudhury & Rukie Hartman
In Western society, queer and transgender stories are usually more accepted.
In Moving Truths, Duttchoudhury and Hartman want to share truths and people’s stories.
This anthology offers an unseen insight into the Desi LGBTQ+ community in sharing fearless stories.
Moving Truths is a community project, and an active call to recognise, celebrate, understand and respect Desi queer and trans stories.
Haramacy by Zahed Sultan
Haramacy is a combination of two words: the Arabic word ‘haram’, which means forbidden, and the English word ‘pharmacy’.
This anthology brings together key voices from the Middle East and South Asia.
It explores intersectional and social issues typical of marginalised people in their home countries and in the UK.
The stories range from LGBTQ+ topics to race, culture, and faith.
The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla
The Good Immigrant is a collection of 21 essays from BAME authors.
The essays unpack Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today.
The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a foreign country.
For non-BAME readers, this is the perfect book to gain a look in from the outside!
These books address subjects that the South Asian community are hesitant to do so.
Check them out if you’re looking for a powerful read.