This week we welcome Parmesh Shahani, founder of the Godrej India Culture Lab and author of Gay Bombay: Globalization, Love and (Be)longing in Contemporary India and Queeristan: LGBTQ Inclusion in the Indian Workplace. While Parmesh was eating his blueberry cake and drinking coffee to start his day, the sun was setting in Los Angeles. Across this conversation, we explore his journey to the United States and how his time at MIT changed his world view; the legal and political struggles over LGBTQ rights in India over the past decade or so; the work he has done with the India Culture Lab and through work within corporations; the tolerance of diverse gender and sexual identities in classical Indian mythology; the role of popular Indian media as a catalyst for change; his status as a fashion icon; and his excitement over the changes that are taking place across his country as small town India embraces queer sexuality. All of these and many other themes are addressed in his recent book as he seeks to “queer” what business books look like and the kinds of arguments they advance. His closing speech about the queer future of India is not to be missed!
A full transcript of this episode will be available SOON at the bottom of this page!
Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:
Swades (Shah Rukh Khan film that inspired Parmesh to return to India)
Popular media narratives of Indian parents accepting their queer children:
Gazal Dhaliwal; her story on Aamir Khan’s TV show Satyamev Jayate
More about the story of Kusuma that Parmesh spoke about can be found in his book, Queeristan, on pp 122-123.
It’s not the cover, but… story in Vogue India
Hiring trans people to run metro stations
“Love is Love” by Petter Wallenberg & Rainbow Riots, featuring Sushant Divgikar
“In Time” by Dylan Emmett and “Spaceship” by Lesion X.
In Time (Instrumental) by Dylan Emmet https://soundcloud.com/dylanemmet
Spaceship by Lesion X https://soundcloud.com/lesionxbeats
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0
Free Download / Stream: https://bit.ly/in-time-instrumental
Free Download / Stream: https://bit.ly/lesion-x-spaceship
Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/AzYoVrMLa1Q