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Jan 6th
background image with green, yellow and pink waves with text overlay saying 'how we got here'

The collective is committed to archiving and documenting our process and learnings. As we update our 'About Us' section, we are moving some of our original writeups to our blog. We wrote this description in November, 2015 when we first launched A Colour Deep to document our process over the prior year of building the collective and online site

A colour deep comes from conversations with people from our communities at events/workshops/gatherings, in our homes and online.

From these conversations, a collective was formed in December 2014 after one of the members received a Youth Opportunities Fund Promising Ideas Grant to create this online space. After another member joined, we put a call out to invite interested youth to connect with us to become part of the collective - we had no expectations of prior skills or knowledge. We met with youth around the GTA and found ways for everyone that was interested to be able to join our project! Since then, the collective has met regularly in our homes, online and in community spaces to see through the research, feedback, development, design and other necessary components to get this space to where it is today.

Since the beginning, the project has prioritized youth employment. For each hiring, we attempted to break traditional hiring practices (like request for proposals) that often act as barriers for youth. For development and design,  we hired queer, trans youth of colour, both of whom had the skills and abilities to do the work but limited portfolios of past work. It was important for us to support youth who are not often offered employment without a portfolio. As a collective, we provided time and space for hired youth to learn while offering mentorship support through our networks, wherever possible. Hiring queer/trans youth (of colour) was important to us as we are rarely given safer work opportunities, where our identities, lived experience, and process is as valued as our output.

In the original visioning process for the space, we asked for thoughts and ideas from community members through a survey and a community conversation/focus group - the feedback from this helped the collective figure out next steps in our visioning process. For example, we learnt that most folks wouldn’t engage in a traditional forum but when prompted about the possibility of having conversations with others online in a more responsive platform, they were interested.

For our naming process, it tooks us weeks to come up with anything that felt close to a possibility - at some point or the other, each of us felt like we would just never get to a name other than QSAY (Queer South Asian Youth). After many prompted activities and research, we shortlisted four names. We consulted with as many LGBTQQ "south asians" as we could over a few days (thank you to the 15-20 folks that were willing to respond to our FB msgs, texts etc.!). A Colour Deep, a name that was almost not included in our consultations was finally picked and we couldn’t be happier!

Similarly with the development of our logo, we worked through many iterations with our designer. We are so grateful for their creativity, brilliance and patience in creating something that has almost unanimously been received with positive feedback, most of whom also felt it embodied "south asian-ness" and "queerness", without utilizing stereotypes or commonly used symbols (many of which can often be problematic).

As the space became more real for us, we felt the need to connect with folks offline to create the possibilities of connections online. We invited 4 queer 'south asian' youth to facilitate workshops that would also help other LGBTQQ 'south asians' feel more comfortable vlogging and blogging - youth facilitators picked themes of interest to them. We hosted these workshops in different parts of the city (downtown, malvern, rexdale) to reach youth in those neighbourhoods. As we run out of funding, we hope to be able to run more workshops in the coming months, through community support.

As the site got closer to going live, we hired an outreach coordinator to help us promote ACD. We originally hired one youth, a queer, trans south asian, to work on outreach over 10 weeks. Unfortunately, due to limited availability and approaching grant deadlines we could no longer continue working with them as staff. We offered the work to two queer, trans south asian youth (that had applied in the original process), detailing the division of work between the two. With their support we reached out to organizations/groups across the GTA that work with youth, LGBTQQ communities and/or "south asian" communities. This included reaching out to clubs/groups in colleges/universities along with libraries and community centres as well.

For the last many months, our developer has made this space a reality in ways beyond our imaginations. When we started looked for a developer, we found it really challenging to find queer/trans south asian youth, and soon also realized that it was very difficult to even find youth developers of colour. Our developer, a non-south asian mixed-race trans youth, has been wonderful in creating the balance of offering technical suggestions without taking up space in decision-making. They have prioritized accessibility and privacy throughout the development process. Looking at the site today, it’s hard to believe that they were uncertain of their skills when they first started. The site you see today is a manifestation of them taking our hopes and suggestions (of which there were many) and making them a reality.

As we launch now, after almost a year of planning and preparation, we hope we’ve built something that you are as excited about as we are!

We are a collective of four queer south asians, most of whom are youth and some of whom are also trans-identified. We use this account for collective posts and updates. For questions or concerns, you can contact us on this profile, our individual profiles or through the contact/feedback forms.

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