Brown N Proud

“You`re attractive for an Indian guy!”
“How can you be gay and brown?”
“I don’t do Pakis!”

Do these sound familiar to you? Research shows you’re not alone.

South Asian brown bodies are rarely well represented in mainstream queer spaces. What initially inspired this campaign were community voices and the Imagine Men’s Health study (IMHS) results.

IMHS was a community-based study that examined the relationship between experiences of racism, homophobia, ethno-racial identity, resilience and risks for body image dissatisfaction, and associated eating behaviours and attitudes among ethno-racial men who have sex with men (MSM). Our communities have already been speaking about their experiences when exploring the queer community, but by having a formalized study that further highlights these narratives, really propelled us forward in taking some action.

Out of the 4 ethno-racial groups that were surveyed for the study, South Asians were significantly more likely to report experiences of racism and social appearance anxiety. These unique findings demonstrated how brown faces and bodies are rarely well represented in mainstream queer spaces.

This inspired us to come up with something that would celebrate our cultural identities, promotes pride in our brown bodies and fosters confidence to navigate how we connect, hook-up and love. We want people to share this campaign and its message with their folks and networks to inform, educate and empower.

With the help of the amazingly talented artist Eric Kostiuk Williams and our advisory committee, we came up with 4 illustrated images that show different online profiles of South Asian men. Using humour, each profile celebrates our uniqueness as queer brown men while creatively referencing and challenging the ignorance that brown men experience within the gay community.

We hope that BnP provides that reminder in taking pride in how we see our beautiful brown bodies by validating our experiences.

This campaign is supported by the AIDS Bureau