On Chicago-based performer Abhijeet Rane’s Bad Beti party:
When Chicago-based performer Abhijeet Rane launched a photo series earlier this year with the hashtag Bad Beti, their imagery viral, featuring the queer Indian artist paying homage to South Asian femme icons through drag recreations.
Conceived alongside Dash, a queer South Asian woman, Rane’s Bad Beti project addressed the lack of queer South Asian references in Western pop culture. “It started with Bollywood actresses, but also included athletes, scientists, trans women, non-binary femmes and figures in history,” said Rane, who embodied everyone from M.I.A. to Alok Vaid-Menon.
“I feel like most Asian cultures have a very extensive history seeped in queerness and transness that have faced erasure after years of colonization,” Rane said. “Practices, performances and people that were once mystical and revered in these cultures [have since been] outcast. This party is about tapping into that unrecognized history and combining it with our current references to fully celebrate and document a new queer, Asian identity, especially in the United States.”
Producing a party like Bad Beti is important for visibility in the LGBTQ community, offering a platform to highlight the diversity of Asian identities, united by their queerness. From entertainers to artists and activists, Rane’s Bad Beti crew shares a mutual history of immigration and survival that they collectively manifest into nightlife magic. “By showing us together, we represent our individual and shared strengths—not to be overseen or cast aside,“ Rane said.