Canada legalized gay marriage back in 2005. India decriminalized homosexuality only in 2018, with same-sex marriage still a far-off dream. These disparate timelines may help explain why many Indian immigrants in Canada still struggle to accept LGBTQ+ folks in their own communities. For queer Indians from conservative families, whether they live in their native country or abroad, coming out may not even be an option. And if it is, it’s fraught with anxiety and dread. Will they become outcasts and be disowned by their own parents? Or will their queer identities be brushed under the rug in the pursuit of a traditional arranged marriage?
Emergence: Out of the Shadows follows three queer Punjabi Sikhs in Metro Vancouver who wrestled with these same fears and ultimately came out to their families with varying outcomes: Alex Sangha, founder of Sher Vancouver, a non-profit society for LGBTQ+ South Asians; artist Jag Nagra (along with her brother Harv, who is also queer); and Kayden Bhangu, a recent immigrant who was sent to Canada after his parents learned he was gay. They share their stories with a rawness and honesty that is immensely moving but what makes this film particularly powerful is that it also passes the mic to the parents whose voices we don’t often hear. While there may be more nuanced conversations about queer identity happening in Canada today, within South Asian families the subject is still markedly taboo. This film—rare in that it shows Indian parents expressing admiration, pride and love for their queer children—may help nudge open the door to change that is fervently needed.
Vinay Giridhar is an animator, graphic designer, and illustrator by trade. His animated short film “Loves Age,” was an official selection at the HollyShorts Film Festival, Sherman Oaks, California, USA (An Academy Award Qualifying Festival). Vinay works as an Art Director and Graphic Designer for a South Asian Lifestyle Magazine. Vinay has edited extensive short videos and has done significant art and design and film and video work. Vinay is originally from Kerala, India and currently lives in Surrey, B.C. Canada.
CAST & CREDITS
Christine Michelle Lord
Kayden Bhangu, Alex Sangha, Jag Nagra, Jaspal Sangha