The release of Caged Tiger has been an intriguing experience for Subhashish. The book not only marked a personal achievement for him but was also a valuable addition to the broader discourse on India's socio-economic dynamics. His ability to translate complex ideas into accessible narratives has garnered praise and widened the scope of his influence. In this conversation with us, Subhashish delves extensively into the many ways in which workspaces can be made more inclusive, sensitized, and equitable, not just for members of the queer community but also for other marginalized communities and spaces.
The aspiration of society should be to come to a position where coming out is irrelevant.
In the context of identity and representation, Subhashish emphasizes the contextual nature of the coming out experience, acknowledging that individuals navigate their journey based on unique circumstances. Whether one chooses to be openly visible, selectively disclose, or remain private about their identity, Subhashish emphasizes the autonomy of each individual.
He questions societal expectations around coming out, envisioning a future where it becomes irrelevant, mirroring the non-expectation placed on heterosexual individuals. Within corporate spaces, Subhashish advocates for a reciprocal process where individuals, particularly those in privileged positions, actively contribute to fostering inclusivity.
To me, being out and proud means having complete comfort with your identity.
For Subhashish, being out and proud entails effortlessly embodying various facets without hesitation or doubt. In corporate settings, where one may find themselves surrounded by individuals who differ in appearance, Subhashish emphasizes the importance of maintaining a sense of ease. Feeling comfortable and not being perceived as an outsider is, for him, a mutual process.
He underscores that it's not solely the responsibility of the company or workplace to foster this comfort; individuals must actively contribute to this journey, especially if the environment demonstrates a willingness to be supportive allies.
We need to overcome discrimination, systematic or otherwise, of all kinds.
He also notes that people's reluctance or lack of openness to specific ideas often stems from ignorance. Throughout his involvement in various organizations, Subhashish has actively assumed the role of a communicator, sharing unfamiliar experiences to bridge gaps and facilitate understanding.
Subhashish acknowledges that othering manifests in diverse ways, extending beyond sexuality to encompass aspects such as caste, gender, and socioeconomic status. To address these issues comprehensively, he advocates for a broader diversity, equity, and inclusion agenda. By emphasizing the need to combat discrimination in all its forms, whether systemic or implicit, he aims to instigate change within organizations.
Grateful for the opportunities he has had to work in environments where individuals are open to scrutinizing their subconscious biases, Subhashish underscores the role that every employee and community member can play in encouraging employers to engage in this introspective process.
I don't think of tokenization as an entirely bad thing because at least it’s starting a conversation.
In the pursuit of change, an initial shift in vocabulary often precedes substantive change. The act of designating specific days or months, such as Pride Month, serves as a starting point for a broader conversation about visibility and inclusivity.
However, there is also a risk of getting stuck in symbolic gestures without progressing to meaningful actions. Subhashish suggests that individuals in leadership roles, especially those with privileges, have a crucial role in pushing for substantive change. Encouraging empathy, he emphasizes the need to understand that individuals from older generations may be on a transformative journey and might not immediately grasp the intricacies of diverse experiences. However, engaging in constructive conversations with employers is still essential to address such oversights.
DEI needs to become a shared agenda where everyone believes they have something to add.
Talking about DEI in corporate spaces, Subhashish emphasizes that it cannot be an exclusive responsibility of one person. Recognizing the risk of tokenization and the tendency to rely heavily on one individual for all queer agendas, he advocates for the establishment of a DEI council. This council, comprising individuals from diverse backgrounds, can ensure a collective approach and shared responsibility in fostering inclusivity within the organization.
By promoting shared responsibilities, he aims to avoid the concentration of decision-making power on one person, fostering a more inclusive and comprehensive understanding of diverse perspectives within the organization.
If an organization is not aligned at a moral level with what you want to do, it's not the right place for you.
In discussions surrounding leadership within corporate settings and its role as a platform for advocacy, Subhashish emphasizes the importance of quickly gauging an organization's alignment with one's values and needs, encouraging individuals to choose environments supportive of their identities and aspirations.
For aspiring queer professionals seeking corporate leadership, he suggests maintaining a delicate balance of urgency in pushing for change and strategic patience in dismantling systemic barriers.
To serve a country as diverse as India, the workforce needs to be just as diverse.
Talking about hiring practices, Subhashish shares his experiences of challenging prevailing norms in industries like tech and finance. He advocates for a broader definition of diversity beyond traditional parameters like educational backgrounds, gender, and city tiers. Subhashish stresses the economic and business case for diversity, asserting that reaching untapped or underserved markets requires a diverse workforce that understands and caters to diverse consumer needs.
Subhashish's journey reflects a commitment to fostering diversity, inclusion, and authentic representation across various spheres, establishing him as a driving force in shaping a more inclusive and equitable society.