Darsh and the rainbow women

  • Diversity

Many have told Darsh Prasad that ‘you don’t look gay!’ Read her story.

  • 30.06.2023
  • Time to read 1 min read


Around 15 years ago, Darshika Prasad met her best friend and soulmate, Sequoia.

“It’s hard to put ourselves in any bucket other than the ‘soulmate’ bucket,” said Darsh. “Sequoia is my power and motivation.”

Two women in wedding dresses in a field, holding flowers

“We just had a connection and we’ve built a life together based off that.”

Darsh (left) and her wife Sequoia

Coming out

A family photo in front of a rock formation, including Darsh, her parents and two boys.
Darsh with her parents and two sons, Aspen (left) and Onyx (right)

Soon after starting a relationship with Sequoia in her early twenties, Darsh ‘came out’ to her family and friends.

“I faced a lot of challenging times coming from a in Fijian Indian background,” she said. “My parents had certain hopes and dreams for me, and just couldn’t understand how I could make a decision like this with my life.”

“My dad was supportive towards me but wasn’t ok openly talking about it within his community. It was all a top-secret adventure!

“My mum took it quite personally and just didn’t believe it was reality. She denied it for years and we became estranged.”

Part of the stumbling block for Darsh’s parents was dealing with the norms and expectations of their community.

“It’s one of those cultures where everyone’s involved in everyone else’s life,” said Darsh. “That includes grandparents and parents, but also uncles and aunties who aren’t blood related but are still all up in your business!

“There’s this mentality that if you don’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist. So that’s kind of what I’ve been raised thinking and believing.”

‘You don’t look gay!’

Family photo of two women in wedding dresses sitting on grass with their two sons
Darsh, Sequoia, Aspen and Onyx

While her parents came around, Darsh still faced the daily challenges relating to her sexuality and culture.

She often faced comments like ‘Oh, you don’t look gay’, or ‘You don’t have an accent, are you sure you’re Indian?’

“I constantly found myself having to censor my language, like calling Sequoia ‘my partner’ instead of my girlfriend or my wife,” said Darsh.

“I found that I had to carefully consider what I said in front of whom.

“Constant censorship of your language and your actions isn’t great for your mental wellbeing. It made me hide a big part of who I was.”

A safe space

Five women smiling at camera
Darsh (second from right) with ‘rainbow women’ and allies, including ally Rachel Slade (NAB Group Executive, Personal Banking)

Today, Darsh proudly identifies as a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) cisgender, bisexual woman. Her pronouns are she/her.

“I’m openly out within my community, within work, and within every facet of my life now,” she said.

“I don’t censor anymore, because you just never know when that one person will reach out and need your help.”

Having studied and worked as a counsellor, Darsh has an instinct towards empowering people to find a way forward. It’s this drive to help that motivated Darsh to take over leadership of the ‘Rainbow Women of NAB’ group.

“I want to foster an environment where all Rainbow Women of NAB are represented with a voice and have a safe space to be themselves,” she said.

“I want to create open dialogue across the organisation about the challenges and stigma we face so that others are more aware of how their actions can impact real people.”


Two young boys, the elder with his arm around the younger
Darsh’s sons, Aspen (left) and Onyx (right)

Darsh and Sequoia are now also motivated by their two sons and ‘fur babies’.

“I want to lead by example for my children, so they foster respect and compassion to people from all walks of life,” she said. “Equality, diversity and inclusion is the foundation of their ability to cultivate this characteristic.”

But while society and workplaces have come a long way, Darsh still worries about young people who are going through the same emotions as she once did. Especially those subject to intersectional discrimination and marginalisation.

“I’ve had several younger people who have reached out to me and said, ‘we don’t know what to do and we know you’ve lived through this’,” she said. “I want to be that visible person in the organisation that others can look up to.”

A rainbow role model

NAB colleague Darshika Prasad, holding two rainbow flags
Darsh flying the rainbow flag

With a recent promotion, Darsh is hoping to use her position to influence and inspire.

“Each of us has a different story,” she said. “How we grew up, our culture, our privilege, our gender, our age and our sexuality have all come together to form and shape us as individuals.

“I strongly believe that the leaders in our organisation that have that openness about them are the ones that really are the changemakers and trailblazers.”

NAB has celebrated Pride Month throughout June with a month of events and fundraising to foster inclusivity and celebrate our LGBTQIA+ community.

Visit NAB’s Inclusion and Diversity page for more on inclusion and diversity at NAB.

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