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‘Love is Love’ in Surrey, home to new safe space for queer South Asian youth

Sher Vancouver launches Pyar is Pyar Peer Support Group with Sunday-afternoon meetings at library
Logo for Sher Vancouver’s new Pyar is Pyar support group in Surrey. (Submitted image)

Surrey is home to a new peer support group for queer South Asian youth and friends.

Sher Vancouver’s Pyar is Pyar Peer Support Group will meet every Sunday at City Centre Library from 2 to 4:30 p.m., in Room 402, starting April 16.

The group name means “Love is Love” in many South Asian languages, according to Sher Vancouver’s Alex Sangha.

He calls the drop-in support group “an essential space for queer South Asian youth and friends 19 to 30 to find support, community, and a place to belong.”

Founded in 2008, Sher Vancouver is a registered charity for queer South Asians and their friends, families, and allies in the Vancouver area.

The new support group will involve meetings facilitated by a social worker and two social-work practicum students.

For many South Asian queer youth, Sangha says, finding acceptance and support can be a challenging journey due to cultural and societal norms. Many individuals face rejection and isolation, causing feelings of loneliness and shame, said Sangha, who produced the 2021 documentary “Emergence: Out of the Shadows,” about coming out in the South Asian community of Metro Vancouver.

“We understand that coming out or being true to oneself can be challenging, especially for South Asian queer youth,” Sangha explained in a news release. “That’s why we created this group, to provide a safe and supportive community where individuals can feel accepted and celebrated for who they are.”

In January Sher Vancouver began accepting submissions for its inaugural Sundar Prize, launched in tandem with a new film festival planned in Surrey.

The Sundar Prize involves more than $10,000 in cash prizes for the top five films, in categories of best feature, documentary, short, animation and student film.

The winners will be announced more than a year from now, in June 2024, ahead of screenings at either Surrey City Hall or the adjacent City Centre Library (venue pending) over two back-to-back days on a weekend, before a live audience.

• READ MORE: ‘Beautiful’ films sought in Surrey for new Sundar Prize and Festival from ‘Emergence’ filmmakers.

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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