The Epistemology of the Ethnic Closet: Interracial Intimacy and Unconditional Love in Ian Iqbal Rashid’s A Touch of Pink

  • Gilad Padva


This chapter, inspired by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s groundbreaking queer essay “The Epistemology of the Closet” (1990), focuses on Ian Iqbal Rashid’s film A Touch of Pink (UK/Canada 2004), a romantic drama about a young gay Indo-Canadian of Ismaili origins who lives in London with his white British boyfriend. The film problematizes the Western conceptualization of coming out and queerly revises white and ethnic perceptions of interracial intimacy as well. In its cinematic inquiry into the particularities of the epistemology of the ethnic closet faced by ethnic gay men, Rashid’s film politicizes the notion of unconditional love in order to develop a new, inclusive point of view on ethnic gay men’s negotiating of their sexual identification and their emancipation inside and outside their families and communities. Notably, this film embraces the Indian family’s willingness to open its heart to its gay son, proving that love is unconditional. A Touch of Pink’s somewhat utopian ending shows the viewers that greater acceptance of sexual minorities within Alim’s community is possible.


  1. Ibrahim, Abraham. “Sodomized by Religion.” Fictional Representations of Queer Muslims in the West. Topia. 19 (2008): 137–152.Google Scholar
  2. Almaguer, Tómas. “Chicano Men: A Cartography of Homosexual Identity and Behavior.” In The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader. Eds. Henry Abelove, Michele Aina Barale, and David M. Halperin. New York, NY: Routledge. 1993. 255–273.Google Scholar
  3. Asencio, Marysol. “‘Locas’, Respect, and Masculinity: Gender Conformity in Migrant Puerto Rican Gay Masculinities.” Gender & Society 25.3 (2011): 335–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bhabha, Homi K. The Other Question: Stereotype, Discrimination and the Discourse of Colonialism in the Location of Culture. London and New York: Routledge. 1994.Google Scholar
  5. Bhabha, Homi K. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge. 2004.Google Scholar
  6. Bianchi, Fernanda T., Shedlin, Michele G., Brooks, Kelly D., Penha, Marcelo Montes, Reisen, Carol A., Zea, Maria Cecilia, and Poppen, Paul J. “Partner Selection Among Latino Immigrant Men Who Have Sex with Men.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 39.6 (2010): 1321–1330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge. 1990.Google Scholar
  8. Chambers, Samuel A. The Queer Politics of Television. London: I.B.Tauris. 2009.Google Scholar
  9. Hall, Stuart. “What is This ‘Black’ in Black Popular Culture?” In Black Popular Culture. Ed. Gina Dent. Seattle: Bay Press. 1992. 21–33.Google Scholar
  10. Hall, Stuart (1980). “Encoding, Decoding.” In The Cultural Studies Reader. Ed. Simon During. London and New York: Routledge. 1993. 90–103.Google Scholar
  11. Hall, Stuart. “Introduction: Who Needs ‘Identity’?” In Questions of Cultural Identities. Eds. Stuart Hall and Paul Gay. London: Sage. 1996. 1–17.Google Scholar
  12. “The Question of Cultural Identity.” In Modernity and Its Futures. Eds. Stuart Hall and Anthony McGrew. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press and the Open University Press. 1992. 274–316.Google Scholar
  13. Harper, Phillip Brian, Anne McClintock, José Esteban Muñoz, and Trish Rosen “Introduction. Queer Transexions of Race, Nation, and Gender.” Eds. Phillip Brian Harper, Anne McClintock, José Esteban Muñoz, and Trish Rosen. Special issue of Social Text 52–53. (1997): 1–4.Google Scholar
  14. Hays, Matthew. “True Colours: Gay Family Values and the Ghost of Cary Grant Meet up in Ian Rashid’s Touch of Pink. ” Montreal Mirror, September 9–15, 2004. (accessed January 8, 2009).
  15. Julien, Isaac, and Kobena, Mercer. “True Confessions: A Discourse on Images of Black Male Sexuality.” In Male Order: Unwrapping Masculinity. Eds. Jonathan Rutherford and Rowena Chapman. London: Lawrence & Wishart. 1988. 97–164.Google Scholar
  16. McCready, Lance T. “Racial Identity.” Youth, Education, and Sexualities: An International Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. Ed. James T. Sears. Westport: CT: Greenwood Press. 2005. 694–698.Google Scholar
  17. Pallotta-Chiarolli, Maria. “Ethnic Identity.” Youth, Education, and Sexualities: An International Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. Ed. James T. Sears. Westport: CT and London: Geenwood Press. 2005. 303–306.Google Scholar
  18. Rich, B. Rubi “A QUEER: From Toronto to Berlin to New York: The Work is out –A New Gay Cinema is Here.” Village Voice 37.12 (1992): 31–34.Google Scholar
  19. Ross, Marlon B. “Beyond the Closet as Raceless Paradigm.” In Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology. Eds. Patrick E Johnson and Mae Henderson. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 2005.Google Scholar
  20. Sánchez, Francisco J., Blas-Lopez, F. Javier, Martínez-Patiño, María José, and Vilain, Eric. “Masculine Consciousness and Anti-Effeminacy among Latino and White Gay Men.” Psychology of Men & Masculinity 17.1 (2016): 54–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Savin-Williams, Ritch C. “…And Then I Became Gay:” Young Men’s Stories. New York: Routledge. 1998.Google Scholar
  22. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1990.Google Scholar
  23. Somerville, Siobhan B. “Introduction: Queer Fictions of Race.” MFS Modern FictionStudies 48.4 (2002): 787–794.CrossRefGoogle Scholar


  1. Bend It Like Beckham. Director: Gurinder Chadha. Performers: Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Kintop Pictures / Film Council / Filmförderung Hamburg / British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) / British Screen Productions / Helkon Media / The Works / Scion Films / Bend It Films / Roc Media / Road Movies Fimproduktion / Future Films / Redbus Pictures, 2002.Google Scholar
  2. The Buddha of Suburbia (TV series). British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), 1993.Google Scholar
  3. East Is East. Director: Damien O'Donnell. Performers: Om Puri, Linda Bassett, Jordan Routledge. FilmFour / British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) / Assassin Films, 1999.Google Scholar
  4. The Guru. Director: Daisy von Scherler Mayer. Performers: Jimi Mistry, Heather Graham, Marisa Tomei. Universal Pictures / StudioCanal / Working Title Film, 2002.Google Scholar
  5. In America. Director: Jim Sheridan. Performers: Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton, Djimon Hounsou. Hell's Kitchen Films / East of Harlem / Irish Film Industry, 2002.Google Scholar
  6. London Kills Me. Director: Hanif Kureishi. Performers: Justin Chadwick, Steven Mackintosh, Fiona Shaw. Channel Four Films, 1991.Google Scholar
  7. Mambo Italiano. Director: Emile Gaudreault. Performers: Luke Kbackirby, Ginette Reno, and Paul Sorvino. Cinemaginaire Inc./Equinoxe Films/Harold Greenberg Fund. 2003.Google Scholar
  8. Monsoon Wedding. Director: Mira Nair. Performers: Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Shfali Shetty. IFC Productions / Mirabai Films / Pandora Filmproduktion / Paradis Films / Baron Pictures / Delhi Dot Com, 2001.Google Scholar
  9. My Beautiful Laundrette. Director: Stephen Frears. Performers: Saeed Jeffrey, Roshan Seth, and Daniel Day-Lewis. Working Title Films/SAF Productions/Channel Four Films. 1985.Google Scholar
  10. My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Director: Joel Zwick. Performers: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Michael Constantine. Gold Circle Films / Home Box Office (HBO) / MPH Entertainment Productions / Playtone / Ontario Film Development, 2002.Google Scholar
  11. Play It Again, Sam. Director: Herbert Ross. Performers: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, and Tony Roberts. Paramount Pictures / Rollins-Joffe Productions / APJAC Productions. 1972.Google Scholar
  12. Polish Wedding. Director: Theresa Comelly. Performers: Claire Danes, Gabriel Byrne, Lena Olin. Addis Wechsler Pictures / Lakeshore Entertainment, 1998.Google Scholar
  13. Sammy and Rosie Get Laid. Director: Stephen Frears. Performers: Shashi Kapoo, Claire Bloom, Frances Barber. Channel Four Films, 1987.Google Scholar
  14. A Touch of Pink. Director: Ian Iqbal Rashid. Performers: Jimi Mistry, Kris Holden-Ried, and Suleka Mathew. Martin Pope Productions/Sienna Films. 2004.Google Scholar
  15. The Wedding Banquet. Director: Ang Lee. Performers: Winston Chao, May Chin, and Ya-Lei Kuei. Ang Lee Productions/Central Motion Pictures/Good Machine. 1993.Google Scholar
  16. White Teeth (TV series). Channel Four, 2002.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gilad Padva
    • 1
  1. 1.Beit Berl CollegeBeit BerlIsrael

Personalised recommendations