Maya is a queer South Asian former professional golfer, LGBTQ+ athlete activist, and founder of the Queer Asian Social Club. Maya grew up in Northern California and attended Claremont McKenna College where she was a dual major in Government and Film Studies and wrote her senior thesis on the effect of queer representation in media on public policy. At Claremont McKenna College, Maya was captain of the Varsity Golf Team and a three-time NCAA All American. Maya turned professional in 2015, played on the Cactus and National Women‚Äôs Golf Association Tours and gained status on the Symetra Tour before having to take a step back from the sport due to its exclusive culture and the many harmful bigoted experiences she endured, as a result of that culture – experiences only deepened by the lack of visibility of queer athletes in the sport. However, Maya focused her pain in fighting for and becoming an advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusive policies in sports, working closely with organizations like Athlete Ally. The lack of visibility of queer athletes in golf, as well as the lack of visibility of Asians and queer Asians in the broader media, motivated Maya to found the Queer Asian Social Club (QASC), a transnational collective that seeks to empower community through queer APISWAD (Asian, Pacific Islander, Southwest Asian, Desi) visibility. Through QASC, she hosts a podcast exploring the queer Asian experience, hosts workshops on undergraduate campuses, produces panels on queer Asian representation for conventions and film festivals, and helped found San Diego Pride’s Queer Asian Pacific Islander Middle Eastern Desi American Coalition. Maya has spoken on panels with the You Can Play Foundation and at the inaugural Los Angeles Angels Pride Night. Maya also helped develop the first-ever webinar discussing LGBTQ+ inclusivity in junior golf in partnership with the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA), the National High School Golf Association, Athlete Ally, and the PGA of Canada, was part of the first ever Pride Day at the PGA Championship in 2020, and continues to tirelessly advocate and consult on inclusivity initiatives in golf and athletics at large. Maya is dedicated to fighting for LGBTQ+ inclusive policies in sports and intends to use her J.D. to strengthen that work in inclusive policy formation, advocacy, and litigation defending trans and queer folks in athletics and elsewhere.
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