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In the U.S., International student nisha venkat recently started identifying as queer and non-binary. But at home in Dubai, setting their preference on Tinder to meet “all genders” is illegal and nisha can be inprisoned or deported if convicted of homexuality, or “cross-dressing.” So, when nisha went to Dubai recently to surprise their father on his birthday, they didn’t know what to expect. 

nisha’s father at his birthday dinner, Feb. 4, 2022. Photo courtesy of nisha venkat. 

In this episode, nisha navigates these two very different worlds of gender identity. Despite the challenges they face, nisha finds hope because they are not alone.

nisha and their friends from home after a night out, Feb. 4, 2022. Photo courtesy of nisha venkat. 

nisha’s mother poses with their family dog, Feb. 2, 2022. Photo courtesy of nisha venkat. 

nisha and their brother watch Netflix together, Feb. 3, 2022. Photo courtesy of nisha venkat. 



Bob Carlson

Guests: nisha’s parents, brother and friend Josh, whose last names have been removed to protect them against government policies that may put them in danger in their home countries.

Independent Producer: nisha venkat is an audio producer living and working in los angeles. they enjoy knitting, reading and days spent with loved ones. @bishabenkat (nisha asked us to keep their bio and name in the lowercase style

Episode graphics by Alex Cerrilla

Theme Music by Alex Weston, with music help from Joe Augustine and Narrative Music.