Magazine News & Features Re-launch of South Asian HangOuts By Dan Singh Dan is the facilitator for our online Zoom peer-support group, South Asian HangOuts, which is for gay, bi and trans men from South Asian heritage. In this article, Dan wanted to share his thoughts about the group and topics it covers. Our South Asian HangOuts is a peer support group for gay, bi and trans men of South Asian heritage. The Zoom group take place the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month 7pm – 8.30pm. We restarted in December 2022. It’s been a positive, supportive, and confidential space for gay, bi and trans men of South Asian heritage to connect with each other and share their lived experiences. It’s a safe space where we talk about the influence on, and from, our cultures, and how we can live our lives without fear or judgement. Various topics have been discussed already, including self-care, tacking isolation, ‘New Year. New You!’ and the topic titled ‘We are family’. Our last couple of group meetings in Jan 2023 were well attended and thank you to everyone for their feedback survey afterwards. We looked at the year ahead and how we cope. Lots of short term and long-term goals were discussed: whether there was value in new year’s resolutions and how we maintain our own self-care. It was really encouraging to hear the plans people had and what we could do more of and indeed less of, as well as reflecting on what has worked before. We also talked about different types of families and what family means to in relation to our own South Asian Cultures. Most attendees felt there was a need for more cultural belonging, meeting new people, having a chance to be heard, access to information and the benefits of trying something new. We’ve also looked at ways of moving forwards, reducing isolation and shared positive experiences with one another. It's amazing to see some people working on creative video projects tackling stigma and homophobia, as well as writing and art. Another comment that I thought was valuable was that some people felt they could be their authentic selves during South Asian Hangouts. Long may this continue. It’s important that we all consider our emotional and physical safety before, during and after we access these online safe spaces. Try to remind yourselves that if a space doesn’t feel right or is making you feel worse – take a break from it and think about trying something different. There is so much choice these days. Feeding back your thoughts helps develop your group too. This can be done by the survey emailed out at the end of the group or email me. If you are on the lookout for a service or group, take a look at the LGBT HERO website for some places to start. You can also email us directly and we can point you in the right direction. At LGBT HERO we have other HangOut groups too – click here. Our Hangouts group is open to any gay, bi or trans men with South Asian heritage who live in the UK. To sign up for the next group CLICK HERE If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch [email protected] HangOuts is funded through the Hatta Hodson Estate, and we are very thankful for their support.