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, writer, and Brown Girl editor Priya Arora, about their journey, their work, 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!

This week, Priya chats with Dr. Riddhi Sandil, a licensed psychologist and co-founder of the Sexuality, Women and Gender (SWG) Project 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 deconstruct the top myths our communities believe about therapy. Later, the two discuss what allies can do to support mental wellbeing and Dr. Sandil shares more about her current research and the SWG Project.

More about Dr. Riddhi Sandil:

Dr. Riddhi Sandil holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Iowa and currently serves as the Program Coordinator of the Ed.M. program in Psychological Counseling at Teachers College, Columbia University. She previously served on the board for SALGA-NYC, a community organization that serves the needs of South Asian LGBTQI+ individuals.

[Last Week’s Episode: Queering Desi, Episode 10: An Ode to Brown Girls with Vivek Shraya]

As a researcher whose professional and personal identity is strongly influenced by multiculturalism and social advocacy, Dr. Sandil is interested in understanding how these factors interact and predict psychological health. Her scholarly interests lie in the pursuit of evaluating bio-psycho-social factors and their impact of individual differences and self-determination. Furthermore, her clinical interests include complex trauma, working with marginalized/minority populations, women’s concerns, identity development, individuation and family of origin concerns.


For more information about Dr. Sandil’s work and the Sexuality, Women and Gender Project at Teachers College, visit swgproject.org.

[Related: More Episodes of Queering Desi]

Tune in for a new episode every Wednesday, and be sure to rate and subscribe to help us spread the word! Currently available on iTunesGoogle Play, Spotify, Sticher, iHeartRadio, and AudioBoom (or wherever you listen to podcasts!). If you identify as South Asian and LGBTQIA+, we now have a safe space for Queering Desi listeners to post, interact, and connect! Please join our Facebook group here.

Send questions, comments, and feedback to [email protected]!

Priya Arora is a queer-identified community activist, editor, and writer. Born and raised in California, she has found a home in New York City, where she currently works as a frontpage editor at HuffPost. She previously served as a board member for SALGA NYC, the tri-state area’s South Asian LGBTQ organization. As an activist, she has spoken, performed, and presented at various LGBTQ events across the country. Priya’s educational background in mental health has fueled her passion for capturing and fostering the narratives of LGBTQ+ people of color. When she’s not working, Priya enjoys watching old school Bollywood movies, laboring over crossword puzzles, reading books she never finishes, and eating way too much of her partner’s homemade Hyderabadi biryani.