Eshaan Kothari – The Fight for LGBTQ+ Equality is a Fight for Decolonization
Which student are you?
High School Student (US Only)
Name of School
Riverdale Country School
Grade / Year in School
Location (City, State/Province, Country)
Bronx, NY, USA
If you identify with an ethnicity or culture(s), which one or ones do you identify with?
Asian American and Pacific Islander
What is the name of your legal guardian/parent (if under 18)?
Please provide contact information for your legal guardian/parent (if under 18)
What are your social media accounts (TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook)?
Youtube: @Eshaan Kothari Instagram: @kotharieshaan
Please select type of project you are entering
What is the title of your project?
The Fight for LGBTQ+ Equality is a Fight for Decolonization
Please tell us about your submission (maximum 600 words)
Last summer, I attended the Upenn Social Justice Research Academy (SJRA) to combine my love for learning and passion for social justice. At SJRA, I conducted university-level research on how colonialism harms the LGBTQ+ community in colonized lands with my research mentor Dr. Shantee Rosado. Her oversight as a Rutgers professor and researcher on queer communities in Colombia helped challenge the implicit biases in my writing, especially since I fall in a majority as a cisgender man. Ultimately, with the help of Dr. Rosado, I wrote a nine-page research paper titled “The Fight for LGBTQ+ Equality is a Fight for Decolonization” that won a Gold Award in the Regional Scholastic Writing Competition and competed in Nationals. I know that my experience scouring through historic newspapers, religious texts, and academic journals and personally interviewing over five Indian scholars for my case study on the hijra community has better equipped me as an activist and scholar.
What is something you learned about patriarchy and what is something you would like to change about what you learned?
Through my writing, I learned how religion and ancient scriptures continue to perpetuate a toxic patriarchy today and how Indigenous values support gender-fluid and matriarchal societies. The patriarchy in our current world not only contributes to the oppression of women but also non-conforming individuals. Drawing parallels between LGBTQ+ communities in different colonized lands shed light on my own colonial, heteronormative biases, which I enjoyed unlearning through my writing, and I hope that my writing helps dismantle the patriarchy in our current world by exposing and filling in gaps in our current scholarship.
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