A Sikh man in San Diego has gone viral on social media after sharing a photo of himself wearing a rainbow turban he had designed in celebration of Pride season.
Jiwandeep Kohli, who identifies as a bisexual man, is a neuroscientist and an amateur baker who appeared on TV as a contestant on ABC’s “The Great American Baking Show.”
— The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition (@GABakingShow) December 7, 2018
However, Kohli did not craft his turban for more attention, but as a symbol of equality that he vows to continue working toward.
“I’m proud to be a bisexual bearded baking brain scientist,” he posted on Twitter. “I feel fortunate to be able to express all these aspects of my identity, and will continue to work toward ensuring the same freedom for others.”
I’m proud to be a bisexual bearded baking brain scientist. I feel fortunate to be able to express all these aspects of my identity, and will continue to work toward ensuring the same freedom for others. #PrideMonth #PrideTurban #LoveIsLove pic.twitter.com/SVhc0iwDF0
— Jiwandeep Kohli (@jiwandeepkohli) June 1, 2019
Kohli was inspired to design his turban after coming across another Sikh man who wore something similar at a pride parade. His idea, however, made the perfect fit.
“A few years ago I saw a photo of another Sikh man at a pride parade who had a few colors in his turban. I was looking at that, and I realized the way I tie mine it had the exact right number of layers to make a rainbow,” he told BuzzFeed News.
— Jiwandeep Kohli (@jiwandeepkohli) April 16, 2019
Kohli actually made his turban last year, but he only shared it on June 1, the first day of Pride month. It has since received thousands of likes and retweets.
“The public reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. I realize that by being so visible, I’m opening myself up to backlash and negativity, but it is entirely offset by the sense of community that it’s engendered,” he told Mashable.
This received a lot more attention than I imagined it would! It also makes me feel so much #pride and joy to be a part of such supportive and welcoming communities. See here for my friends, colleagues, mentors, and heroes: https://t.co/TSSH559RBh @GregYoudan
— Jiwandeep Kohli (@jiwandeepkohli) June 2, 2019
Others reportedly ask Kohli where to get their own rainbow turban, but he educates them about the headwear’s religious significance and the responsibility that comes with it.
“I wouldn’t want people to have the impression that I’m just wearing it as an accessory. A turban is a sign to the world that you’re a person the world can turn to for help.”
He added that it symbolizes his stand for equality and justice.
“What better way than with a Pride rainbow to also show that my values for inclusivity and egalitarianism extend beyond just religious freedom?”
Kohli is currently a Ph.D. student in clinical psychology. He also runs a website called Bearded Baker Co., where he showcases his baking prowess.
A very special cake for a momentous occasion—red velvet dragon egg for the #GameOfThrones finale! If the end continues to disappoint, at least we have this to eat. #GoT #dragon #egg #cake pic.twitter.com/BHMIzVIbLp
— Jiwandeep Kohli (@jiwandeepkohli) May 20, 2019
Featured Images via Twitter / @jiwandeepkohli