Finding A Voice
1330. Khakan Qureshi
Khakan Qureshi, from Birmingham, is a leading LGBT+ activist who founded the support group ‘Finding A Voice’ to provide a safe space for South Asian Muslims to share stories, reduce social isolation and engage in meaningful discussion about what it means to be South Asian and LGBTQI+.
Khakan came out to his family when he was aged 22, shortly after meeting his lifetime partner, and was originally met with hostility from his parents. Khakan has since been determined to tackle the issue of homophobia among ethnic minority groups and religious communities. ‘Finding A Voice’ is Birmingham’s first independent, multi-faith, non-funded social and support group for South Asian LGBTQI+ men and women aged 18+. Khakan has also been active in the ongoing debate in Birmingham about education on same-sex relationships, working to challenge negative stereotypes and promote equality.
In a personal letter to Khakan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, but allow me to offer my own recognition of your leadership through ‘Finding a Voice’ to support the South Asian LGBT community. As we celebrate LGBT History Month, it is important to promote understanding and dialogue among all communities and I commend your work to open up vital conversations.”
“I’m really honoured and humbled to have been recognised for the Points of Light Award. I never would have thought that setting up ‘Finding A Voice’ in 2014, a voluntary organisation to support South Asian LGBT+ would lead to a receiving such a prestigious award.
“I’d like to thank the PM and the Foundation for shining a light on my work and contributions. It has provided a much needed boost for me to continue to challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, and to raise awareness of the existence of South Asian LGBT.”