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alyy patel

Trailblazing LGBTQ+ Activist & Scholar


Sonali (Alyy) Patel is a trailblazing LGBTQ+ activist, author, creative, and scholar, who has made Canadian history on several accounts. Alyy is best known for making monumental strides for Queer South Asian Women in North America—she is revolutionary in bringing this severely invisibilized community together. At age 22, Alyy solely founded the Queer South Asian Women’s Network—a thriving Canadian non-profit organization. As well, Alyy pioneered Canadian research on Queer South Asian Women’s issues in the diaspora. In 2020, Alyy made Canadian LGBTQ+ history as the first South Asian speaker at Pride Toronto’s Dyke March. In 2022, Alyy was the first LGBTQ+ South Asian speaker at the Ontario Government's Pride Flag Raising Ceremony.

Alyy passionately works to bridge community gaps through knowledge construction and mobilization. She has spent the past decade spearheading countless queer initiatives across Canada, such as Halton Region's first LGBTQ+ Pride Festival (2015), the Queer Gujarati Parivaar (2021), and Queer South Asian Picnics in major cities spanning the East to West Coast. Alyy dedicatedly raises awareness about the issues and experiences of Queer South Asian diaspora through her writing, public speaking, research, and community activism. Alyy's work and unapologetic existence aim to challenge enforced assimilation while empowering others to embrace their authentic selves. Recently, Alyy published their first book, Don't Tell My Parents: Queer Diasporic Truths

Alyy's research on diasporic Queer South Asian Women has won awards from noteworthy organizations, such as the Canadian Sociology Association and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Her debut research article, "Brown Girls Can't Be Gay: Racism Experienced by Queer South Asian Women in the Toronto LGBTQ Community," was recognized as the 7th most-cited article of 2019 in the Journal of Lesbian Studies.

Alyy is a Toronto-born Gay, Indo-African Gujarati, Gender Fluid Woman, on a mission to foster inclusivity by influencing worldviews, bridging communities, and inspiring others to lead with love. Alyy is currently pursuing her PhD in Sociology at the University of British Columbia. She has previously earned her Master of Arts from the University of Ottawa and honours Bachelor of Arts in Sociology & Sexual Diversity Studies from the University of Toronto.

As a keynote speaker and independent diversity & intersectionality consultant with nine years of experience, Alyy has been invited to speak at a range of workplaces (e.g., Payments Canada, Wattpad, etc), schools (grades 1-12 and post-secondary), and globally renowned initiatives, such as the International Film Festival of South Asia. 

Don't Tell My Parents: Queer Diasporic Truths

How do you choose between queer love and family when both are equally painful experiences? In this unflinchingly honest collection of poetry, Alyy shares her process of reconciling her queer identity in light of cultural constraints and abusive relationships.

Alyy Patel's first published book, Don't Tell My Parents: Queer Diasporic Truths, is a must-read for all. It is available for purchase at the following retailers:

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What's New with Alyy?

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June 2024

Alyy Patel is invited to speak about South Asian lesbian (in)visibility in front of thousands of people at Pride Toronto's Dyke Rally on June 29th, the biggest yet. 

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Noteworthy Achievements


50+ Speeches Delivered


Successfully Mobilized 
Queer South Asian Women


World-Renowned LGBTQ+ Activist

She’s an overall badass paving the way for queer South Asians everywhere.

— Samantha Mann in BUST Magazine

As Seen In

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