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GUEST SPEAKERS

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David Jay

David Jay is an American asexual activist and the founder and webmaster of Asexuality Visibility Education Network a.k.a AVEN. He plays a leading role in the Asexuality Movement. David spent years explaining asexuality to the public and spreading concrete information about it. He also focuses on topics like parenting and family life. To put it simply, he's a 'sucker' for anything related to relationships and nonsexual intimacy.

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Dwight Cook

Dwight Cook is the Founder of Leading with Pride. He spreads awareness about diversity, inclusion, equality and challenges that the LGBTQIA+ community face.

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Mr. Ravi Bhatnagar
Director, External Affairs and Partnerships at Reckitt,

Mr. Ravi Bhatnagar is the Director, External Affairs and Partnerships at Reckitt, and
is in charge of the Africa, Middles East and South Asia Regions interlinking Health
hygiene and nutrition. With his deep interest in and knowledge of the issues of
Health, Hygiene and Nutrition, Mr. Bhatnagar has been able to communicate about
the effectiveness of the programmes and campaigns of Reckitt to senior
government officials and those in top global institutions like the UN, World Bank
and WHO.

Reckitt’s ‘Dettol Banega Swasth India Programme’ has helped take the message of
hand washing into every home. Mr. Bhatnagar is currently involved in taking
forward Reckitt’s programme of Health, Hygiene and Nutrition in India’s
aspirational districts across multiple states in India.

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Leeza Mangaldas (She/Her)

Leeza Mangaldas (she/her) is a digital creator, who aims for a world where all sexual experiences are consensual, safe, and pleasurable. She sheds light on and aims to amplify information and access to pleasure, queer inclusive Sexual Education, and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. She challenges gender stereotypes and spreads awareness about safe contraception through fun and creative reels.

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Mr. Mohammed Asif
Executive Director, Plan India

Mr. Asif has more than 20 years of experience in the field of child rights and development and its impact assessment. He heads Plan India  an has expertise in building partnerships and alliances for implementing programmes, supporting advocacy campaigns as well as Disaster Risk Management programme. Mr. Asif joined Plan India in 2006  and took a national role as Director, Program Implementation in 2009.  Over the past decade, he has ensured the successful implementation of over 500 development projects across India.

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Harish Iyer (He/She)

Harish Iyer is an Indian equal rights activist and advocates for the rights of the LGBTQ community, women, children, animals, and survoivors of child sexual abuse. He is named by Pink Pages as one of India's seven most influencial gay and lesbian people. He played an instrumental part in the decriminalisation of homosexuality in India, and was a member of the National Human Rights Commission’s core group on LGBTQ+ issues in 2018.

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Mr. Sadam Hanjabam
Founder & CEO, Ya_All Youth Network

Sadam Hanbajam is the founder of Ya_All, Northeast India's first registered queer and youth led-focused organisation based in Imphal and the Director of Paomi Post, a digital storytelling platform for Manipuris.  He is also the curator of Asia’s first all Transmen Football Team. He was the only queer person to be awarded The Better India’s Covid Warrior Award in 2020 and Ya_All was listed among 10 Global Initiatives led by queer people fighting an inclusive fight around the globe by United Nations Envoy on Youth. Sadam was acknowledged by Dettol among 100 Protectors recently and his story has been documented by Apple TV in a docu-series called The Me You Can’t See co-produced by Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry.

SPEAKERS / PANELISTS

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Sunanda Jalote

Sunanda is a therapist, specialising in working with QTPOC, impact of intergenerational trauma, and survivors of gender based trauma. Sunanda has been working to spread more awareness about asexuality and aromanticism, and currently runs a free support group for people identifying on the asexual and/or aromantic spectrum called Oasis.

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Kerry Chin

Kerry is autistic, aromantic, asexual and transgender. He is fortunate enough to have known about all aspects of his identity relatively early on. Kerry is an admin for Australian Asexuals and is on at least half a dozen committees, including the Committee for Sydney World Pride 2023. He likes rats, cycling and Scrabble.

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Kate Wood

Kate is an activist who researches violence and oppression against asexual people. She is a survivor of corrective sexual assault, who believes in talking about her experiences to end the stigma. Kate is on the admin teams for ACT Aces and Australian Asexuals and identifies as quoiromantic and apothisexual. She has fibromyalgia, bipolar, Chronic Fatigue and a neurological disorder. On Twitter: @Sulphuric_Aceid

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Minh Tam (She/They)

Minh Tam identifies as a non-binary heteromantic Ace, and has been working in Asexual in Vietnam since 2019 - The network for asexual and aromantic people in Vietnam. Tam has been the organizer of Hanoi Pride for two years and also been the guest host for the talk with John Huy Tran (a Canadian-Vietnamese international artist).

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Prabhjyot Kaur (She/Her)

Prabhjyot Kaur (She/Her) is a Senior Counselling Psychologist and a Queer Affirmative Practitioner, having completed a certification course in Queer Affirmative Counselling Practices from Mariwala Health Initiative (MHI). She has worked with the LGBTQIA+ community on a variety of projects apart from her clientele. She loves curating learning modules, conducting workshops, and interacting with students in addition to her practice as a therapist.

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The Ace Couple: ​​Courtney (She/Her) & Royce (No pronouns/He/They)

Courtney and Royce are a married asexual couple of 7½ years who host The Ace Couple podcast. Courtney is a Victorian Hair Artist, Historian, and Owner of Never Forgotten. Royce is a computer programmer, designer, and an accessibility and UX advocate. With Courtney’s lived experience as a disabled woman and Royce’s expertise in web accessibility, the two collaboratively offer accessibility consulting services.

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Archa (she/they)

Archa (she/they) holds a master's degree in differential psychology from the University of Edinburgh. They are a behavioural psychology & health researcher, and strongly believe that systemic issues and mental health can't be separated.
At the Alternative Story, she looks forward to engaging in meaningful behavioural health research. They believe in the intersectional nature of social, political, and economic issues' impact on mental health concerns; and this is also their research focus.She is grey/demi-sexual, and pansexual.

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Safal Lama (They/Them)

Safal Lama identifies as nonbinary person and has recently graduated in Social Work majoring in Psychology and completed a diploma in psychosocial counselling. They are a Queer Disability Rights Activist, co-member of The Queer Youth Group, and run the instagram account @queer_disabilities_Nepal. Safal has experience in working on gender equality and rights, advocacy, public speaking, communication, rally, and event organising.

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UnYoung (She/Her, Ey/Em)

UnYoung is aromantic and a researcher. She’s the volunteer onboarder for AUREA and likes to help create resources for aromanticism. Ey is interested in how aromanticism is situated in larger social systems, including intersections with culture and mental health, and hopes to bring more awareness to issues that affect a-spec communities.

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Gulsheen Kaur (She/Her)

Gulsheen Kaur is working with Pride Circle as a Program Manager for Pride in Education. With a background in psychology and social design, she has developed projects with a multidisciplinary approach to achieve inclusivity in different spheres such as education, urban slums, etc. With education as one of her areas of interest, she aims to make education more inclusive and accessible. At Pride Circle, she works with a similar multidisciplinary approach, focussing on LGBT+ Inclusion and related intersectionalities in the area of education.

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Julia (She/Her)

From Russia, Julia is an Aroace who is on the verge of finishing high school. Though identifying as an Aroace for not long, Julia resonated with the label as they explained a lot about herself. She hopes her participation will add value to the discussion on aromanticism in PanACEa 

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Dawn Ling (she/her)

Dawn is a Chinese-Mongolian, demi-squared (demisexual and demiromantic) woman based in Boston (USA) and a member of the New England Aces. Her work is heavily focused on diversity in higher education, specifically increasing access and equity for students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds and minority communities. Her research centers on applied ethics, namely social ethics and ethical frameworks.

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Artemis Munoz

Art has been doing Ace activism in some way shape or form since they figured things out at age 17, including posting vlogs to the YouTube channel Ace Ideas and speaking about ace and aro identity at universities, on radio and on television. They are an active part of Melbourne’s Disability Arts scene.

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Chulumanco Mihlali Nkasela

Chulumanco Mihlali Nkasela is a young queer activist, student activist, community leader, and serves as the current spokesperson of the Black People's National Crisis Committee. This Eastern Cape native has been in the Cape Town activism space for years and was an organizer for the Equal Education Western Cape. Mihalali was elected into the #UniteBehind inaugural secretariat, and was recognised by the Mail & Guardian as Top 200 Young South Africans 2020.

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Than Huyen

Huyen is an A-spec panelist from Asexual in Vietnam, working as a Content member since 2019.

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Daniel Yo-Ling (He/They/他)

Daniel Yo-Ling is an independent scholar based in Taipei and the lead researcher for the 2021 Taiwan Asexual Community Survey project. Daniel is also an editor at New Bloom Magazine and can be found on Twitter @yolingwrites.

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Ashabi Owagboriaye (She/They)

Ashabi Owagboriaye is a Nigerian-American Multidisciplinary Artist, Advocate & Organizer in the city of Chicago. As an out-loud Black Queer Asexual, she uses her platforms and voice to shed light on & normalize the experiences of Asexuality the intersections within their identities. They are the founder and curator of Ace In Grace, a space used to educate on the topic of asexuality while also uplifting Black, Indigenous & other people of colour within this community.

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Shruti (she/they)

Shruti (she/they) lives in Bangalore with her cat Lola. They work as a content writer at the Alternative Story. She deals with the persistent awfulness of the room-screen-work-from-home life by occasionally visiting close friends, who are nice enough to cover half the airfare amount. The closest thing she has to community in her daily life is the gang of mobile and phone-snatchers in the service road next to her home.

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Hiker Chiu

Hiker Chiu is a pioneer of intersex rights activist from Taiwan. In 2008, Hiker founded OII-Chinese, a platform for Chinese-speaking intersex people and started the “Global Free Hugs with Intersex Movement” in the eighth Taipei Pride Parade 2010. Hiker served as the first intersex co-chair of ILGA Asia in 2015-17, and represented Asia in the Expert meeting on the Human Rights of intersex person in the UN, 2015. Hiker serves as both the Chair and Executive Director for Intersex Asia.

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Prashant Singh

Prashant Singh, a human rights lawyer from India, is the Coordinator at Intersex Asia. Prashant’s research interests span across SOGIESC issues, transitional justice, migration and refugee law, etc. He has been part of national and international advocacy initiatives on intersex rights in India. Previously, as a Research Fellow at Jindal Global Law School, he worked on several academic and field-based research projects on human rights issues and got his work published in peer-reviewed journals and leading newspapers in India. He is an alumnus of National Law University, Punjab.

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Sipee (She/They)

Sipee is a sociologist by education, a translator/copyeditor/writer by trade. She is also newly trained in Narrative Therapy and QACP. She is a core member of Nepali Asexuals, and is currently interested in exploring how in today’s hypersexualized world our identities are shaped by our sexualities and vice versa. She identifies as an aromantic, grey-asexual woman.

Being Creative

Nicole (She/Her)

Nicole is an aromantic 21-year-old from New Jersey. She enjoys sociology, volunteer work, and learning. She volunteers with AUREA as a representative.

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D. Elizabeth Zoremi(Ellie) (She/They)

An aspiring pharmacist and PhD aspirant in Environmental Science, Ellie is also finding newer ways to make their aro-ace identity more understood and accepted. They love animal companions (a wee bit partial to cats), slice-of-life stories and dabble in writing. Being a ‘sologamist’ and helping everyone get along makes them the happiest.

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Gemma Gray

Gemma is an activist, admin for Australian Asexuals and many international ace groups, and the mother of a 6-year-old son. She is an Australian representative for International Asexuality Day. Gemma is passionate about building international links between asexual activists. She is neurodivergent and has psychosocial disabilities.

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Aadhi (He/They)

Aadhi hails from Kozhikode, Kerala. They completed their post graduation in Malayalam Literature from Sree Sankaracharya University, Kalady. They identify as a queer activist who writes. He focuses his writings on intersectionality of caste, sexuality and queerness. 

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Dr Sangeeta Saksena

Dr Sangeeta Saksena a gynaecologist, author, activist and co-founder of Enfold Trust works in the field of sexuality and safety. She developed the ‘Suvidha Kit’ for children with disabilities, workbooks and training material for teachers of six graduate and postgraduate courses. She works with State Governments and conducts training in Restorative Circles.

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Advocate Pallavi Sharma (She/Her)

Pallavi Sharma is an intersectional feminist, socio-legal activist, and is practising as a women and child rights lawyer. She has worked for acid attack victims and aided in their medical, economical and social rehabilitation. She has also worked for victims of child sexual abuse.

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Yagna (They/Them)

Yagna identifies as a pan-demisexual and pan-demiromantic non-binary person, who is also hard of hearing. They are in the final stage of completing their masters in Computer Applications. They love memes, reading, doodling and mostly talking about dreams.

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Divya Mukhopadhyay (They/She)

Divya Mukhopadhyay (They/She) is a psychologist, educator and queer-affirmative person-centered therapist, who identifies as neurodivergent with ADHD. Their passionate stance for identity awareness and empowerment is firmly embedded in the nuanced exploration of social intersections with mental health. Through their relational and social constructionist lens, Divya encourages their clients to reclaim autonomy when narrating lived experiences.

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Tejaswi Subramanian

Tejaswi is a journalist, researcher and artist whose attention is captured by post-colonial human relationships at a time of the Internet of Things. They are currently working as a Digital Editor & Curator at Gaysi, and write on mental health, sexual wellness, gender & sexuality.

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Supreet K Singh

A writer, film director, a gender activist and a yoga acharya, Supreet has transitioned from 15 years of corporate experience to being an award-winning filmmaker & championing an NGO. A partner at Red Dot Foundation, Safecity, she overlooks the functioning of the organization and specifically handles the operations, marketing as well as creating campaigns to engage women and men in solutions and designing partnerships globally. She is a certified personal counsellor and conducts workshops creating awareness about sexual violence with children, communities and corporates.

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Faagun (She/Her)

Faagun is a psychology student from India and is relatively new to the aromantic community. She wants to help represent and support the Southeast Asian community in her work with AUREA and help get a better understanding of what it means to be a-spec in this part of society.

WORKSHOP FACILITATORS

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Anna Onni

Anna Onni is an asexual panromantic living in Singapore who posts doodles and shower-thoughts on Instagram (@annaonni). In her spare time, she is an educator who illustrates and rips up old periodicals and books into crafting materials. Her work is published in the literary anthology Food Republic (2020), with The Birthday Collective, and she illustrates for The Singapore War Crimes Trials Project.

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Rebecca Goh

Rebecca is an interdisciplinary theatre/movement director, dramaturg, writer, and researcher. They are currently the artistic director of from (a)basement theatre collective, a company that aims to champion and celebrate minority voices in multidimensional conversations. Rebecca’s diverse practice includes directing and training with creatives and organisations internationally, which includes cross-cultural collaborations from the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Singapore, and the UK. 

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Gargi (she/her)

Gargi (she/her) is an Academy Trainee at The Alternative Story. She is a graduate from SNDT Women's University, Mumbai in Counseling Psychology and a freelance writer. Her area of interest in academic research is asexuality, specifically in various Indian contexts. In her free time she downloads more books than she reads, and watches cat videos on the Internet.

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Ms. VERSUS

Ms. VERSUS is an artist from the Philippines and is known as the ‘Queen of The City’. She collects experiences from the city and uses them to create lyrical compositions, musical productions and other art forms. She recently released her album 'Art of VENUS' which was inspired and driven by her frustration with a society that belittles transgender women. 

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Alia Alkaff 

Alia Alkaff is a storyteller. Their work explores identity and culture in both film and theatre. Alia has worked full-time as a storywriter for one of Singapore's longest running English dramas, ‘Tanglin’. Previous acting credits include independent plays such as 'parthenogenesis' (2021/2020) and 'Single Mothers' (2019). Recently, her work has been showcased in the Women Voices Now Film Festival 2021.

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Atamelang Free

An entrepreneur, personal care product manufacturer. A trained leadership agent of change for community development, national building, continental stability and global peace as well as in business growth, leadership development, and purposeful living towards national significance and global relevance. An author and a graduate of Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI).

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Anisha Lakshmanan/Niche

Anisha Lakshmanan/Niche is a professional singer-songwriter/performer graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Master’s in Contemporary Performance. Having been classically trained in Carnatic and Hindustani music since a young age, she is currently exploring her sound to create versatile music that breaks stereotypes and the boundaries of genres.

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Nandita (they/she)

Nandita (they/she) is a counselling psychologist and enthu-cutlet at The Alternative Story. They chose to facilitate this workshop because they saw in it an opportunity to share (read: vent), listen, and reflect about what it means to be an ace in an allosexual world. Spoiler alert: It sucks! They are a cis-woman who is also savarna - neurodivergent - demisexual - demiromantic - polyamorous - lesbian. Most importantly, they are a parent to Esther (doggo) and Bobo (catto) who might make a guest appearance at the event!