This week, Priya chats with Sameer Jha about their journey as a queer and trans youth activist.
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, and Sameer shares signs they received that made them feel ashamed and ways they internalized that shame. The two talk about the lack visibility of LGBTQ+ people that goes hand in hand with silence in South Asian communities, and how that presented as hurdles with gender identity and gender expression in these contexts. Priya then asks about Sameer's journey coming out to themselves and their parents and how they explored the labels around their identities and gender expression. Later, Sameer talks about founding The Empathy Alliance, a non-profit that worked with schools to make them more inclusive, and why they wrote the book "Read This, Save Lives!" aimed at inspiring educators to create safer schools for LGBTQ+ youth. Finally, Priya asks Sameer how the South Asian community can support LGBTQ+ youth and how we can further narratives that don't just center marginalized identities.