Winner of the January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award for 2016 is Gaylaxy Magazine Founder Sukhdeep Singh of India

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Sukhdeep Singh 

Sukhdeep Singh is the founder and editor-in-chief of Gaylaxy Magazine, India’s No. 1 LGBTQ+ Magazine.

He is an alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines) (IIT-ISM) Dhanbad, India.

Sukhdeep started the magazine in the final semester of his Bachelor of Technology Programme in 2010 to provide a platform to the LGBTQ+ community to express themselves and highlight their stories and issues.

He works in an multinational corporation as a software professional and today the magazine consists of a team of 10 people, with over 150 contributors and 1500 posts, with an exclusive section in Hindi that remains the only one of its kind online LGBTQ+ resource in Hindi.

His writings have appeared in Huffington Post India, Trikone Magazine (USA), Varta, and Germany based travel portal Ebab.

His articles on Sikhism and homosexuality have challenged the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Akal Takht’s stand that Sikhism is against homosexuality and forbids it.

Sukhdeep received a $500 cash prize in Canadian funds from Sher Vancouver founder, Alex Sangha.

Sukhdeep was selected to receive the award in 2016 “because of the significant influence and impact he is having on advancing LGBTQ+ rights in India and South Asia and abroad, not to mention his innovative use of technology on various platforms to create more awareness of LGBTQ+ issues.  The selection committee was also very much aware of the fact that it takes considerable courage to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights in India where homosexuality is still very much a taboo in society.”

Personal Statement of Sukhdeep Singh

  • I launched Gaylaxy (www.gaylaxymag.com) as an online magazine at the age of 21 in Jan 2010, while still studying my Engineering. India back then lacked a magazine that catered to the needs and demands of the LGBTQ+ community. The first issue itself had over 1000 readers. In these 7 years, Gaylaxy has grown as a platform that connects the LGBTQ+ community and provides them information as well as entertainment. Gaylaxy as a medium has published many personal, powerful and heart touching stories of LGBTQ+ individuals, including coming out stories, stories of gay men trapped in straight marriages. Gaylaxy is also an important LGBTQ+ news source, extensively covering and documenting not just pride marches happening in various cities and towns across India, but also any news of violence faced by LGBTQ+ individuals as well as Govt. policies that benefit/affect the community. It has also provided a platform to many budding writers and poets, whose short stories and poems have been published. Gaylaxy is also emerging as a strong LGBTQ+ voice in South Asia, with a number of Pakistani LGBTQ+ activists and writers joining the magazine and writing about the happenings in their country as well.
  • With the aim to reach out to more people, a Hindi edition of Gaylaxy was started in 2014, with Sachin Jain as its editor. A majority of Indians do not speak English. 41.1% of Indians, or more than a million Indian, speak/understand Hindi. However, most of the resources or websites related to LGBTQ+ are in English, meaning that a vast majority of Indians do not have access to LGBTQ+ literature/information. Gaylaxy Hindi was launched with the aim to fill this void and in these 3 years, has published many articles in Hindi and acts as a resource guide for many Hindi speaking Indians.
  • Gaylaxy has also been conducting on ground events and engaging with college students to bring in more awareness about LGBTQ+ issues among the youth, as well as conduct events to provide a social space to the community. We held a workshop in Presidency University, Kolkata on Gender, Sexuality and Power; LGBTQ+ movies were screened too at the same university and was followed by panel discussion. I was the speaker at a march organsied by IIT Delhi and other Delhi University students in October 2016, where I spoke on Coming Out. We also went to IIT Delhi during their cultural fest Rendezevous and interacted with students from different colleges who had come there and raised awareness on LGBTQ+ issues through situational games etc. Apart from that, Gaylaxy organized an Open Mic session in Oct 2016 on Coming Out where issues related to coming out were discussed. A Queer Carnival was held in November 2016 which provided a platform for various LGBTQ+ people to showcase their talent.
  • With mobile penetration increasing in India, a Gaylaxy app was also launched on android platform in 2014 so that all the information could be easily accessed by people.

 

About the January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award

The January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award is an annual award bestowed upon a deserving youth between 16 to 30 years of age who has demonstrated involvement, commitment, and leadership in the LGBTQ+ community whether locally, nationally, and/or internationally.

Applications from groups who also service this age group are welcome.

Who was January?

January Marie Lapuz was born on April 9, 1986 in Santiago City, Philippines and passed away on September 30, 2012 in New Westminster, B.C.  January was the Social Coordinator of Sher Vancouver.  She was the first transgender person to hold an Executive position with the group. Being the life of the party, January would make everyone laugh.  She was a kind, caring, generous and loyal friend. January was a great singer and dancer.  She was known as our very own “Beyonce.”

January had many challenges and struggles as an immigrant, as a person of colour, and as a transgender woman living in poverty.  Nonetheless, she was a bright light and shining star in Sher Vancouver.  She was a fabulous MC on our “Pride of Bollywood” float in the Vancouver Pride Parade and the “Bang Bang Bollywood” dance nights.

Not a day goes by that January’s friends don’t think of her.  We miss her and we all know that she is watching over us like an Angel in Heaven.

What is Sher Vancouver?

Sher Vancouver is a social, cultural, and support organization for LGBTQ+ South Asians and friends. Sher provides information, referral, peer support, counselling, advocacy, social activities, outreach presentations to combat discrimination, and volunteer opportunities for its members. Sher was founded in April 2008 and currently has over 600 members and is based in Surrey, B.C. Sher is affiliated with the Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society.

Links

Sher Vancouver http://www.shervancouver.com/

January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award https://januarylapuz.net/january-marie-lapuz-youth-leadership-award/

Gaylaxy http://www.gaylaxymag.com/

Contact

Alex Sangha, MSc, MSW

Registered Clinical Social Worker

Founder of Sher Vancouver

Email:  alexsangha@gmail.com

Author Blog https://alexsangha.com/

 

 

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Cast and Crew of My Name Was January

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OFFICIAL PRE-SCREENING OF JANUARY 

CITY CENTRE LIBRARY 

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2016

CAST AND CREW 

(FROM LEFT TO RIGHT)

LENEE SON – DIRECTOR 

ELINA GRESS – DIRECTOR 

SUZANNE KILROY – CAST MEMBER

NATASHA ADSIT – CAST MEMBER

KELENDRIA NATION – CAST MEMBER

VELVET STEELE – CAST MEMBER

ASH BRAR – PRODUCER 

ALEX SANGHA – PRODUCER

BETTY LAPUZ – CAST MEMBEER – NOT IN PHOTO

 

Special Thanks to Style Cuts By Narcy for becoming an Official Sponsor of January!

Style Cuts

 

Dear Friends,

Special Thanks to Style Cuts By Narcy which is a fabulous hair salon located at 194 King Edward Avenue East in Vancouver for becoming an Official Sponsor of January.  Their number is 604-780-9502.

Style Cuts donated their proceeds for the month of April to the documentary.  Sher Vancouver is very grateful for this support.

Special Thanks to Narima Dela Cruz for facilitating this sponsorship.  It is appreciated.

In Pride and In Gratitude,

Alex Sangha (Founder) and Ash Brar (Moderator)

Sher Vancouver

Producers of January

Special Thanks to Surrey604 for becoming an Official Media Sponsor of January!

Surrey 604

Dear Friends of January,

Special Thanks to Surrey604 for becoming an Official Media Sponsor of January!  The support of grassroots local community media in Surrey is appreciated.

Watch for Surrey604 at the World Premiere of January at Kwantlen Polytechnic University at the Surrey Campus in early 2017.

Thank you to Daman Beatty of Surrey604 for facilitating this sponsorship.

In Pride and In Gratitude,

Alex Sangha (Founder) and Ash Brar (Moderator)

Sher Vancouver

Producers of January

 

 

 

 

 

Special Thanks to the BC Civil Liberties Association for becoming an Official Sponsor of January!

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Dear Friends of January,

Sher Vancouver is pleased to welcome the BC Civil Liberties Association as an Official Sponsor of the upcoming documentary film January.

Sher Vancouver is pleased to have the support of a grassroots community organization that has a long standing history of fighting for the human rights, dignity, equality, respect, and freedom of us all.

The BC Civil Liberties Association provides assistance to members of the public who are dealing with civil liberties issues.  Civil liberties issues often focus on the relationship between the government and citizens, although they can also involve private organizations.  Some examples of civil liberties issues that we might be able to assist with include those relating to police accountability, privacy violations, access to information requests, or free speech and freedom of expression.

Special Thanks to Nathanel Lowe who is the Outreach and Communications Coordinator at the BC Civil Liberties Association for facilitating this sponsorship.

In Pride,

Alex Sangha (Founder) and Ash Brar (Moderator)

Sher Vancouver

Producers of January

 

Special Thanks to Big Bro’s Barber Shop for being an Official Supporter of January!

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Dear Friends of January,

Sher Vancouver is very pleased to welcome Big Bro’s Barbershop as an Official Supporter of January.

  • Big Bro’s Barbershop offers the following services:
  • Barber & Beauty Services
  • Gender Affirmation Products
  • Transition Mentoring & Resources
  • Used Clothing & Binders by Donation
  • Safe Space for the LGBTQ2SIA+ Community

Thank you to Jesse Anderson for facilitating this sponsorship.  It is appreciated.

Sher Vancouver is proud to work alongside the trans community to support each other and increase awareness of services and supports for the trans and larger community.

With Gratitude,

Alex Sangha (Founder) and Ash Brar (Moderator)

Sher Vancouver

Producers of January

 

Special Thanks to the Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) Department of Sociology for becoming an Official Supporter of January!

KPU Logo

Dear Friends,

Special Thanks to the Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) Department of Sociology for becoming an Official Supporter of January.

The World Premiere of January will be held at the KPU Surrey Campus.  We cannot wait!

As many of you are aware the directors of January, Elina Gress and Lenee Son, are both Journalism and Sociology students at the KPU Surrey campus.

Sher Vancouver is proud to have the support of the KPU Department of Sociology.  Special Thanks to Seema Ahluwalia of the KPU Department of Sociology for facilitating this sponsorship.

In Gratitude

Alex Sangha (Founder) and Ash Brar (Moderator)

Sher Vancouver

Producers of January

 

 

Special Thanks to the MetroVan Independent News for being a Media Sponsor of January!

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Dear Friends of January,

Special Thanks to MetroVan Independent News for coming on board as a Media Sponsor of January.  We are grateful for the support of grassroots community driven media for their support.

Thank you to Steve Marshall for facilitating this sponsorship. It is appreciated.

In Gratitude,

Alex Sangha (Founder) and Ash Brar (Moderator)

Sher Vancouver

Producers of January

 

 

Special Thanks to SIMPLY THE BEST TV Show for being a Media Sponsor of January!

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Dear Friends of January,

Special Thanks to SIMPLY THE BEST – THE LUISA MARSHALL SHOW for being a Media Sponsor of January.

Thank you to Steve Marshall for facilitating this sponsorship.  It is appreciated.  We are grateful for the support of grassroots community oriented media in Vancouver.

In Gratitude,

Alex Sangha (Founder) and Ash Brar (Moderator)

Sher Vancouver

Producers of January