‘Queer’ Asia 2018 events on Study at SOAS Blog

This blog post was originally posted on Study at SOAS Blogs, 20 June 2018

‘Queer’ Asia

‘Queer’ Asia is a network and platform for collaboration and research on LGBTQI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex) issues in Asia and among Asians in the diaspora. The aim of our annual conference and film festival is to bring together activists, artists, academics, and film-makers from various parts of Asia on a common platform and to interrogate the latest developments and research on LGBTQI+ rights, identities, and culture in the region.

Queer Asia conference

Bodies X Borders

The third ‘Queer’ Asia conference is taking place from 26-28 June, 2018 at SOAS University of London and UCL. Our second annual film festival is taking place on 24 and 29 June at the British Museum and 27 and 28 June at SOAS. All the events are free to attend and tickets can be attained via our website.

Queer Asia conference

The theme of the conference and film festival this year is ‘Bodies X Borders’, investigating issues around migration, diaspora, displacement, identity, embodiment, and borders, whether personal, professional, cultural, or political, externally or internally imposed. The conference has seven academic panelsexploring these themes, looking at bodies and borders in relation to multiple themes, including identity, migration, literature, gender performance, dating apps, transnational organising, class, television shows, urban and rural settings, in seeking asylum, in terms of citizenship, and within nationalist struggles. These panels feature academics and early career researchers from some of the top international universities.


The conference features a range of panel discussions and talks by activists, policy experts, academics and donors, some of which are highlighted below:

Art exhibition

The Bodies X Borders art exhibition celebrates Asian artists (from Japan, Philippines, India, South Korea, and Syria) who are exploring issues related to sexuality and gender. These themes are not normally addressed in contemporary Asia, with many artists struggling with state censorship, the sensitivity of professional art spaces, and a general lack of public interest.

Queer Asia conference
Image: Direction, by Nayoung Jeong

Alongside art installations and performance, we will host a poster exhibition and two plays this year: a stage reading of ‘Contempt’, dramatising arguments made during court proceedings of the judgment that recriminalized homosexuality in India (by Danish Sheikh) and Humera, chronicling the lives of three Pakistani teenagers through the lens of religion and sexuality (by Fatima Maan).

Film festival

Queer Asia conference

‘Queer’ Asia Film Festival 2018 features 33 films from Asia, including Palestine, Lebanon, Pakistan, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, and Myanmar. Some of the films being screened are:

Queer Asia conference