NQAPIA Statement: Gaurav Gopalan and South Asian LGBT Communities in Washington, DC

For Immediate Release: September 25, 2011

Contact:

Ben de Guzman

NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs

Phone: 202-422-4909

E-mail: ben_deguzman@nqapia.org

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is saddened to hear about the death of Gaurav Gopalan in Washington, DC. Gaurav died on September 10, 2011 and his death was pronounced a homicide ten days later. As a federation of Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) lesbian/ gay/ bisexual/ transgender/ queer (LGBTQ) organizations around the country, NQAPIA reaches out to its local member organization, KhushDC, the local DC based South Asian LGBT group that counted Gaurav as one of its members.

We strongly support and stand in solidarity with KhushDC’s work not only to wrap its arms around Gaurav’s chosen family in DC, but to hold authorities accountable and to demand safety for all our communities. Gaurav was a charming personality and a vibrant part of the family and community KhushDC has built in DC with its partners and his death diminishes us all.

NQAPIA and KhushDC have been working with an emerging coalition of DC Queer People of Color (QPOC) organizations and activists in response to Guarav’s murder, which is just the most recent example of a tragic and unconscionable string of violence against the LGBTQ community, the unfortunate majority of which have hit people of color and transgender people. Response to Gaurav’s murder was hampered as accurate details struggled to emerge, including conflicting initial accounts of his death, and then the autopsy to determine his death as a homicide. This confusion is an unfortunate residue of the lack of visibility and understanding our communities have with law enforcement, with the media and too many other institutions.

Gaurav’s murder has struck a nerve with South Asian, AAPI, and LGBT communities around the country. Rakesh Modi from Oakland, CA, NQAPIA’s Co-Chair, made the following statement:

“Many of us did not know Gaurav, never even heard of him. But his untimely death under mysterious circumstances brings to light not just the uncertainty of life, but also concerns of danger lurking just around the corner. As we mourn and grieve Gaurav’s passing, we also strengthen our support to one another. Let the death of this young, bright life bring us closer, in healing and in compassion and in the warmth of the thought that we are there for each other.”

NQAPIA has compiled resources and information about what is happening and how to support local communities in response to Gaurav’s death:

  • Organizations that serve South Asian, AAPI, and LGBT communities and which can and should be strong partners in providing support to Gaurav’s community and advocacy in response to his death:

Local

National

 

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance is a federation of Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, Pacific Islander lesbian/ gay/ bisexual/ transgender organizations and is a project of the Tides Center. For more information, e-mail nqapia@gmail.com or visit http://www.nqapia.org