Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC

Stems From Being Branded Racist by Queer South Asians over Balwant Gill Affair

I need to start first by addressing the outrageous claim of racism thrown at me by Imtiaz Popat and other South Asian Queers.

I am not a racist and those who wish to target me as such are entitled to their beliefs, however, I'm not wearing this and I never will.

In regard to your claims of working with our allies across our differences, you project something which I have thought and thought about. Because we share similar characteristics does this in fact, make us allies?

I wish all people who face oppression could work together as one, but the reality of doing this just isn't there. I have seen far too many times where people have their own agendas and further, how supposed allies mistreat and disrespect other people who are in theory, allies. It happens often.

In regard to my statements, I haven't generalized a culture and race but when there are far too many instances of a culture or race, acting out in an oppressive manner or victimizing way, we just can't close our eyes to these facts.

Moreover, wrongs need to be spoken about publicly and we can't cower away in fear or fear being labelled something which we are not, when we do speak out.

I stand by my claims of sex worker victimization and gay and trans bashing's at the hands of members of the South Asian community. On the bad date sheet alone in a one week period of five reported assaults, sex workers who reported, four perpetrators were defined as 'East Indian Males'.

It isn't my intent to generalize, however, when there is an over-representation of a certain class or culture involved in victimization, I will bring this forward, as I have done. Only when we bring these issues out, in my opinion, can there be any progress in addressing these concerns.

In response, Imtiaz quite simply played the race card as did a few other South Asians who identify as Queer. Once they do this, they alienate people and they have done this to me and I suspect others as well.

I respect you and I don't always agree with you. When I dis-agree with you, I don't go around putting you down or calling you names. I respect you enough as a Leader not to do this.
But you can be sure when you do something which I believe inappropriate, I will call you on it. Just like if I do something inappropriate, I expect to be called on my offending wrong.

My world view is coloured by inequality and injustice so I don't back down even if this means I offend others, so be it.

Your claim that we MUST learn how to move forward together is a noble ideal and I wish we could. I embrace this ideal, however, I don't foolhardy believe that we all share the same ideal.

I don't need to move forward working with the likes of a Fatima Jaffer or Lee Lakeman, who call themselves progressive women, yet, who want to set back my equality rights. And if I bought your reasoning, hook, line and sinker, this is what would be expected of me and I completely reject this.

So if a few Queer South Asians want to work separately from what they consider the mainstream of gay culture, that is their choice and I will respect them for that. I wish them well.

I hope you had some special time with your ailing mother. My best wishes to you.

Jamie Lee Hamilton