Family Equality is thrilled to welcome Nikhil Vashee to our Policy Department!
Nikhil Vashee, Director of Education Law & Policy, Senior Policy Counsel
Nikhil Vashee (he/they) is the Director of Education Law and Policy and Senior Policy Counsel for Family Equality since August 2022. In this role, they work to promote local, state, and federal policy solutions to ensure that LGBTQ+ families have access to a quality education in a loving and supportive environment. They also manage litigation, amicus curiae briefs, and other legal work related to combating discriminatory practices against LGBTQ+ families in education.
Since graduating from Georgetown Law School in 2016, Nikhil has made advocating for educational equity the focus of his career. He has worked for the Washington DC school district to ensure quality, accessibility, and compliance for traditional public and public charter schools. He has also worked in federal policy advocacy with a focus on making higher education more attainable for all students.
Nikhil’s passion for education equity evolved out of their own personal experience as a first-generation college student. Nikhil currently lives in Washington DC and enjoys a variety of nerdy hobbies from board games to amateur mixology.
Top 3 favorite podcasts, books, or TV shows?
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Dead Collections by Isaac Fellman
The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Video games, board games, travel, trying new beers and cocktails, watching a lot of television
What drives you to do this work?
School was tough for me. I grew up in an immigrant household that was loving and supportive but I also felt a lot of pressure to succeed and represent myself as a positive example. Without the tools to understand my bundle of intersectional identities, I struggled with a lot of anxiety. Thankfully, I got the mental health support that I needed, but I know that not everyone has a supportive school environment where they can seek out such help. I want to make sure that no one is denied access to an education because of who they are so that everyone can experience the transforming power of education like I did.
What does family equality mean to you?
Family equality is the right to build your own family unit in the way that you decide. Throughout history, people have been denied this right through various structures of imposing hierarchies. They have been denied basic choices around who they can marry or who they can have children with (or, whether they can choose not to have children at all). When LGBTQ+ families are denied an opportunity for an equal education, it is an attempt to control family structures by threatening the mental health and well-being of children.
“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun-like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” Mr. Rogers