Mikhara Ramsing is a 27 year old social entrepreneur from Queensland, Australia. She runs two social enterprises in the youth mental health space: Ground Chai which provides entrepreneurial skill workshops to rural and regional high schools subsidised by chai sales to cafes and customers and; Ethnic LGBT+ which is Australia’s only free national website providing support, education and mentoring for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) LGBT+ individuals.
She identifies as a gay South African Indian Australian cisgender woman. Her preferred pronouns are her/she. Mikhara immigrated to Australia at the age of 14, leaving her five generations of family ties in South Africa and beginning a new life with her parents and 3 younger siblings in Australia. At age 17, Mikhara brought her parents into her identity as a gay woman for the first time. She was met with a lot of fear and misunderstanding. She was told that she was forgetting her Indian heritage and the family she came from. This began an 8 year journey of turmoil for Mikhara as she navigated between her sexual and cultural identity. During this time, she tried on numerous occasions to keep bringing her parents into her identity. She is proud of the progress her parents have made in this time and is happy to share that her parents now accept her for who she is and the journey continues together.
It was sharing her story that saved Mikhara’s life. She wanted to create this website as a safe place for those individuals who identify as culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and LGBTIQA+ to share their stories. To have a place to help them face the specific challenges of language barriers, navigating between cultural and sexual identity and the compounding factors of homophobia/transphobia/biphobia and racism. She invites you to share your story and to create safe places for others to share theirs.
Mikhara Ramsing has been recognised as one of sixty Young Social Pioneers 2017 by The Foundation for Young Australians, the NSW Young Achiever 2017, one of 10 Westpac Social Change Fellows 2018 and one of five ASEAN-Australian Emerging Leaders by the Australian Federal Government for her work in this space.
If you would like Mikhara to come and speak to your community, get in touch here.
Ethnic LGBT+ exists to provide a safe place for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) LGBTIQ+ individuals to share their stories and to feel supported. We do this through our key service offerings:
- Online ability to share your story anonymously or not.
- Ability to access and read stories of other CALD LGBTIQ+ individuals.
- Access to collated academic articles and studies in the CALD LGBTIQ+ space in Australia.
- Access to thought pieces centered on CALD LGBTIQ issues.
Ethnic LGBT’s vision is to create a more inclusive Australia through storytelling. In 2019, we aim to provide:
- A physical space for CALD LGBTIQ+ support groups.
- A documented collection of CALD LGBTIQ+ history.
- Toolkits for parents of CALD LGBTIQ+ children.
- Toolkits for allies.
Since launching mid-2017, Ethnic LGBT+ has reached over 5,000 individuals globally. That’s over 5,000 people across all continents who found a safe place to possibly see themselves in. The highest engagement has come from Australia, followed by the US, India and South Africa.
Ethnic LGBT+ has received $10,000 of seed funding from The Wilson Foundation which has been used to develop its website and Mikhara as a Westpac Social Change Fellow has received $50,000 to grow her capacity as a community leader in Australia.