Queering Desi

Queering Desi

Queering Desi is a podcast that celebrates the unique experiences of South Asian LGBTQ+ people. Each week, a guest will chat with long-time community activist and writer, Priya Arora, about their journey and what it means to be true to who you are. To help us share our stories in our own words, and take the burden of representation off each individual, this podcast aims to be a breeding ground for discussion and a platform for being loud and proud, no matter who you are! (Platform & Marketing: Brown Girl Magazine; Music: Chetan Davdra; Art: Fatemah Baig; Production & Editing: Priya Arora)... Show More

Episodes

August 21, 2019 73 min

On the season finale of Queering Desi, Priya chats with YaliniDream, a Ilankai Tamil Blood, Manchester-Born, Texas-Bred and Brooklyn-Brewed storyteller and spiritual creator who blends poetry, theater, dance and song, with expertise in integrating arts and organizing. Yalini shares their inspiration for the work they do, and how they see it as a facilitation between the Earth and Sky. They talk about their early experiences around ... Read more

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August 9, 2019 33 min

On this episode, Priya talks to Sundeep Morrison, a queer Punjabi Sikh writer, actress, director, author and activist. Priya asks Sundeep about what drives her art, and Sundeep shares her experience with the Oak Creek shooting. The two chat about the aftermath, and the ways that racism still affects them post-9/11. Sundeep shares how she turned this story into "Rag Head," her one woman show, and her connection to the Sikh f... Read more

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July 10, 2019 39 min

On this episode, Priya chats with Sikh Knowledge, a producer/DJ from Montreal. Priya asks Sikh about his beats, and he shares how world music blended together in his early musical influences. The two chat about what it means for all our identities come together and shape our work, and Sikh shares the way he incorporates flavors of his narratives into his music. Later, Sikh talks about how creating has become a tool to heal, and how... Read more

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June 26, 2019 53 min

In this episode, Priya chats with Charmaine Hussain, the proud mom of a queer and trans teenager. Charmaine talks about early childhood experiences for her child, Sameer, and the gender stereotypes that she fell into. Priya then asks about how Charmaine started to confront these assumptions, and Charmaine shares her initial reaction to Sameer's coming out. She opens up about how Sameer helped her navigate her questions and a pi... Read more

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June 26, 2019 51 min

In this episode, Priya chats with Sameer Jha, a queer and trans youth activist. Sameer talks about why their advocacy centers around schools and how educational system can be more inclusive of queer and trans youth. Sameer opens up about bullying and their journey in supportive spaces at a new school to embark on their own journey. Priya then asks Sameer about the negative stereotypes they faced within the South Asian community, an... Read more

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June 20, 2019 51 min

In honor of Pride month, we're celebrating with brand new episodes every week! This week, Priya chats with Raj Kalra and talks weddings and parenting! Raj identifies in SO many ways: gay, Indian, and also a dad, husband, OG Lamb, television executive and producer, son, brother and 5x Fantasy Football Champion. The two start off by reflecting on what Pride means to them and why this year feels especially important. Then, Raj tal... Read more

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June 13, 2019 38 min

In honor of Pride month, we're celebrating with brand new episodes every week! This week, we chat with Vishaal Reddy, the star and creator of the new limited series, "Insomnia," about a bisexual Indian man who moonlights as an escort. Vishaal talks about the real-life incident behind the inception of the show, and the lack of representation that drove him to write it. Priya and Vishaal discuss the (absence of) on-screen... Read more

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June 1, 2019 27 min

We're kicking off Pride month with several new episodes! First up, we have Fatimah Asghar, a poet, filmmaker, educator and performer. Priya asks Fatimah about Brown Girls, an Emmy-Nominated web series that highlights friendships between women of color. Later, they chat about Fatimah's debut book of poems, If They Come For Us, the elusive idea of home, and ancestral trauma. The episode wraps with Fatimah's advice to her ... Read more

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February 28, 2019 47 min

In this week's episode, Priya talks to Nik Sharma, the writer, photographer, and food blogger behind A Brown Table. The two chat about Nik's early beginnings growing up in a bicultural household in India, from how he found his love for cooking to starting his own blog and switching careers. Nik shares the racism he faced through the early days of his blog, and how these experiences impacted him. Later, he talks about coming... Read more

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This week, Priya chats with Shelly Chopra Dhar, director and co-screenwriter of the new Bollywood film, “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga,” Bollywood’s first mainstream queer love story since “Fire.” The two talk extensively about the film, from what it was like to cast the film to the lukewarm box office response in India, and why we didn't see more of Sweety (Sonam Kapoor) and Kuhu's (Regina Cassandra) relationship on scre... Read more

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January 30, 2019 43 min

This week, Priya chats with Antony Amourdoux, a contestant on Season 6 of Netflix's "Great British Baking Show." Priya asks what being on the show was like, and how Antony's life has changed since. He shares how he found his love of baking, and how he (accidentally!) ended up on the show. Later, Priya asks about his journey as a gay man, and Antony shares what it was like coming to terms with his sexuality alongside... Read more

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In the first episode of Season 2, Priya chats with Humza, also known as his drag avatar, MangHoe Lassi. The two chat about how he found his love for drag, and what inspires those striking drag looks. Priya asks Humza the secret to his incredible makeup skills, and he shares the inspiration behind his looks. Humza shares his experiences at DragCon and what an important space it has been for him. Later, he gets real about his struggl... Read more

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In this week's episode, Priya chats with Durga Gawde, an artist and activist based in India. The two chat about Durga's recent feature on Vice India, talking about what it’s like to be a genderfluid person. Durga also shares how they embraced their fluidity, what it was like to come out as pansexual and genderfluid, the struggles of gender presentation in India and how they became India’s first drag king. Season 1 of the... Read more

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June 13, 2018 38 min

This week on Priya chats with singer and actor Vardaan Arora about his journey from New Delhi to New York, and the origins of his love for pop music. Two discuss South Asian representation in the entertainment industry, and Vardaan shares his personal experience with mental illness and how his identities fuel the lyrics and music he creates. As they wrap up, Vardaan and Priya chat about recent celebrity suicides and the challenges ... Read more

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This week, Priya chats with DJ Rekha, founder of Basement Bhangra™ — one on New York City's longest running club nights. Rekha reflects on what it was like to achieve a 20-year milestone with Basement Bhangra, and what life has been like since the party wrapped. The two chat about the history of music in the South Asian queer movement, and Rekha shares what it's like to create and hold spaces for South Asian LGBTQ+ folk... Read more

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This week, Priya chats with Alok Vaid-Menon, a gender non-conforming writer and performance artist. The two chat about Alok's journey, from their love for writing to the social justice that underlines all their work. Priya and Alok also chat about making room for non-binary folks in the queer and trans movement, how homophobia and transphobia intersects with other systems of oppression, and what it means to heal from the violen... Read more

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This week, Priya chats with Dr. Riddhi Sandil, a licensed psychologist and co-founder of the [Sexuality, Women and Gender (SWG) Project](www.swgproject.org) at Teachers College, Columbia University. The two start by discussing what it means to hold multiple marginalized identities and the taboo of discussing mental wellbeing in South Asian communities. Priya asks Dr. Sandil about her research, and the two work to address and decons... Read more

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This week, Priya chats with Vivek Shraya, whose body of work includes several albums, films, and books. The two chat about Vivek’s first collection of poetry, “even this page is white,” including its groundbreaking boldness in calling out white supremacy and what it’s like to look back on the collection now. The two also discuss Vivek’s latest album, “Part-Time Woman,” and the depth and message of Priya’s favorite track, Brown Girl... Read more

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This week, Priya chats with Rohan, the CEO —or as he prefers, the Bolly heRO—of Doonya, a danced-based, high-intensity interval training dance fitness program. Rohan shares the origins of his love for dance, garba circles, and Madhuri Dixit. He shares how his identity as a gay man was impacted by cultural and gender norms, and how he paved the way to self-acceptance. Priya asks Rohan how his journey shaped the way he now runs Doony... Read more

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This week, Priya chats with Sasha W., the Organizing Director for the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA). Sasha shares their journey into organizing, and the cultural and familial origins of this work, including the 2004 tsunami that devastated Sri Lanka. The two discuss the importance of uplifting marginalized voices, allyship with other movements including #BlackLivesMatter, and how to build communities acros... Read more

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