Sapna Pandya: On Faith, Tradition and Sexuality


Sapna Pandya officiating a Hindu wedding

**This is the first in a two-part series examining the intersection of sexuality with faith and ethnicity. 

I first met Sapna Pandya, very briefly, when she officiated my friend’s Deaf, gay, (“big, fat”) Indian wedding. Aside from my Interpreter-nerd curiosity of seeing Sanskrit mantras and my community’s traditions in ASL, I was excited to see how to apply some “strict” Hindu wedding rules to a same sex couple.


Sapna Pandya (from Twitter)

I should also mention: Sapna is a queer woman and it’s rare enough to see younger women in the role of a Hindu pandit, much less a queer woman. When she’s not officiating ceremonies for Hindu families in the DC area, she’s busy fighting for the rights of immigrants at Many Languages, One Voice.

We met up on Skype and had a really fun and insightful conversation: She tells great stories about continuing family legacies, finding a place between faith and faith communities and empowering brides who finding a space between equality and tradition.

This interview  (“the birthday special”) was featured on XRAY.FM for the May 11, 2016 episode of Intersections Radio. Check out the podcast!

Air date: 5/11/2016 

**Read the transcript of the interview: 051116 Intersections with Sapna Pandya transcript