If Blaise Singh had not been compelled to give up his job as an Elementary School Teacher, then we would never have gained a talented filmmaker with a fresh new voice about being Asian/Black and gay in the UK today. His passion and commitment to LGBTQ/human rights is infectious and as we see in this debut documentary that he wrote/directed/produced it is important for all of us to listen and support younger generations in our community.
If you are unaware of recent news in the UK then you will not know what has been going on in Birmingham , a city in the Midlands, with a significant immigrant population and many second & third generation Muslims in particular. Schools in the area had become the focus of a long campaign to halt LGBT equality messages being taught in the classroom.
Protests had got so aggressive that in the end the local Council went to the High Court to have them banned. The UK has one precious thing that the US desperately needs, and that is a Hate Speech Law.
Singh’s film starts there on the protest line where mainly families originally from Pakistan are fanatical in their opposition, but always ensure to preempt it with ‘we are not homophobic’ . They think that somehow that empowers them to then spew out hate against the LGBTQ community.
This time filming them and trying to engage them in a conversation is Ferhan Khan a brave young gay Scottish Muslim who refuses to be put off by any of the angry (ish) mob.
It sets the pace of the rest of the documentary as the very charismatic Singh takes his camera to events such London’s Gay Pride March, Black Gay Pride and Ryan Lanji‘s East London’s Queer Bollywood Hip Hip Club ‘Hungama.‘ In between he shows us how his community have dealt with the latent (and not so latent) homophobia of the ‘white’ LGBTQ community who refuse to embrace them.
His talking head interviews are mainly with young people who identify as being somewhere on the queer spectrum and as a person of color, and they want to relate how their own ‘coming out’ stories differed from the norm. Some scenarios are considered so tough to deal with, that they haven’t even happened yet.
Then they are the contributions from other activists such as the wonderful Lady Phyll who co-founded Black Pride UK back in 2005 finally giving voice to people of African, Asian, Arab and Caribbean descent. Plus Aaron Carty of BEYONCÉ EXPERIENCE whose claim to fame is that she is the first ever drag queen to perform at Everest Base Camp! The one that we were very uneasy about was Josh Rivers who had been fired as Editor of Gay Times for tweets in his past which were variously homophobic, antisemitic, racist, transphobic, and body-shaming
In showing us the modern face of protest Singh presents us with a valid case to not only re-think some of own attitudes but encourages us to embrace these future new leaders. He has a keen sense of observation and an obvious talent for his very personal style of investigative journalism.