Metro Weekly

Khush DC at the DC Center, a group for queer South Asian people

Khush DC offers both a formal support group and informal get-togethers for D.C.'s South Asian LGBT community

Khush DC kicks of happy hour at Level One -- Photo: Ward Morrison

Khush DC kicks of happy hour at Level One — Photo: Ward Morrison

When Anish Tailor was emerging from the closet in early 2015, he felt confused and alone. He didn’t know any out LGBT Indian people, save a lone person who had once lived in D.C. but had moved away. Calling his friend for advice, he learned about Khush DC, a group for queer South Asian people.

Three weeks later, Tailor attended a Khush happy hour and was introduced to several other South Asian LGBT people who made him feel welcome and at ease. “It was still early for me in my coming out process, and I heard all these other people’s coming out stories, and it was comforting, because they had gone through everything I was going through at that time,” says Tailor. “So I just felt like, ‘Oh, I’m normal. Everybody else has gone through this, too.'”

Two years later, Tailor serves as one of the moderators of Khush DC’s monthly peer support group, held on the third Saturday of each month at The DC Center. For two hours, attendees share stories, vent, or ask for advice in a confidential setting as they tackle sensitive topics such as coming out, family acceptance, and relationship challenges.

Tailor tries to plan social events and opportunities for LGBT South Asians to meet and establish friendships in a less formal setting as well. Sometimes that involves house parties, happy hours, or potluck dinners. Twice a year, Khush DC hosts Jalwa, a Bollywood-style LGBT dance party with a DJ, typically held at the Green Lantern.

“For those who are just coming out, our events are a place where you can meet people and share experiences of being queer,” he says. “Those conversations typically happen more easily in a social setting, so it’s just another avenue, in addition to the support group. Other people who are just looking to have fun with other queer brown people.”

Khush DC’s monthly support group meets on the third Saturday of every month at The DC Center, 2000 14th St. NW, Suite 105. This month’s meeting will take place on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. For more information on Khush DC, visit khushdc.blogspot.com.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com