Let us tell you about the story of Sanjeev.
Born and raised in Aotearoa New Zealand to an Indian family, he was a closeted gay man. He felt he could never come out to his family, if he did, he would be disowned (he was told as much growing up). So, with the fear that had been instilled in him from a young age, Sanjeev pretended to be a certain way.
He started to date women, stopped hanging out with the friends that were his refuge, he convinced himself that if he “acted” straight, he would stop feeling ways that could get him shunned from the only people he had ever known.
Sanjeev is one of thousands in this country with such experiences.
Adhikaar, in many South Asian languages, means “right." Sanjeev has the right to be free, the right to love, the right to be himself. That is what Adhikaar aims to do: to re-instill the rights that our ancestors had to be queer and trans, without fear.
The desire for all LGBTQIA+ to be able to be their authentic self is what drives Adhikaar Aotearoa.
We exist because we want LGBTQIA+ people of colour, specifically South Asians, to be able to live their lives without having to choose between their sexuality/sex and gender diversity and their ethnicity.
We exist because we want the stories of our kids having to hide themselves from their families and wider society to stop and be replaced with stories of joy, hospitality and community.
We exist because one’s skin colour should not define whether you are considered gay/queer or not.
We exist because our people have all too often felt rejected by their ethnic community alongside the LGBTQIA+ community.
We exist because we want change.