PhD Student Vemel (Resh) Ramasamy


Who is Resh?  

Vemel (Resh) Ramasamy commonly known as Resh is a coloured autistic gay man/non-binary person. His pronouns are he/him and they/them. Resh is a PhD candidate affiliated with the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (Disability and Community Inclusion). His PhD project explores the experiences of autistic gay cismen (and non-binary people) through an intersectional and bioecological lens.

Some of his current formal duties 

Resh is an unorthodox academic and have taught at universities for over 6.5 years. He recently secured a Level B position working with the Australian College of Applied Psychology (ACAP) in the discipline of counselling. He worked for ACAP previously as a postgraduate curriculum developer. Despite being an early career researcher, he has peer reviewed a total of seven manuscripts and a published author. In conjunction with his stellar academic endeavours, Resh also works as an allied health practitioner in the scope of a senior developmental educator, specialist support coordinator and lead therapist working closely with NDIS participants and their families. He has worked in the community/human services sector for over 14 years.

Humanitarian work and award






Resh donated toys to children battling cancer in hospital

As a humanitarian and egalitarian, being of service to humanity (including animals) is something Resh feels passionate about. A lot of what he does on a personal and professional level is closely informed by his lived experiences and life calling. This led him to form close affiliation with Global Forum for Teacher Educators (GFTE), the world’s first virtual forum that offers free human rights education to marginalized communities and training for educators in over 60 countries. Resh is a frequent keynote speaker and collaborator. He was recently awarded with the title ‘Distinguished Honorary Professor’ by GFTE for his meritorious contribution in the field of education, philanthropy and human rights.

International collaborations  

Resh values the significance of research collaboration on an international scale. He is currently collaborating with scholars from Malaysia, UK and Pakistan. Recently, Resh was involved in research pertaining to the mental health among Malaysian university students amid COVID-19 lockdown. The study was funded by Universiti Teknologi MARA (spelt in Malay) in Malaysia. Resh was also invited by Dr. Alex Toft from the UK (now his PhD adjunct supervisor) who is highly regarded for his work in the field of gender, sexuality and disability to contribute to a book chapter. The book is titled ‘Young, Disabled and LGBT+: Voices, Identities and Intersections’ and his work resides in Chapter 10.

Undertaking a PhD at Flinders University  

“Doing a PhD at Flinders University is magical. And there is only one reason for it. The one and only Professor Tara Brabazon and Dean of Graduate Research who is my eternal role model and mentor. Tara devotes her entire existence to her students and to the university as a whole. Her weekly vlogs serve as my professional development training inculcating hope and enabling me to penetrate through life chaos and turbulence. The staff from the Office of Graduate Research (OGR) are also sensitive to my needs. They are always willing to help and humanize what they do in their interactions with me. For anyone interested in doing a PhD at Flinders University, Tara and the OGR is your first and final destination”. – (Personal reflections from Resh)

Combatting challenges  

“No doubt, as HDR candidates we have good, bad and ugly days. Life customarily gets in the way. Having a solid support network is vital to the progression and success of your candidature. Knowing what you need and from who you need is crucial. Given I am an empath and of colour, by default I require emotional and cultural support over academical support. Remember to always prioritize and balance your emotional and psychosocial needs. Inspired by the words of the late Dr Stephen Hawking “There should be no boundaries to human endeavour. While there’s life, there is hope” – this sentiment propels me to disrupt the status quo and reach unthinkable heights. Always stay integral, authentic and grounded. It helps me get through the gloomy days. Never be consumed and reduced by wastage and mediocrity. Focus on what matters. Onwards and upwards” – (Personal reflections from Resh)

Future aspirations  

“Higher education and the broader contours of society could do with augmenting their understanding on the notion of inclusivity and diversity. From my own experience, there is a lack to no consideration for disabled, queer and coloured people within society. Flinders is fortunate to have someone like Tara who speak about these intersections frequently. We are constantly relegated by non-disabled heterosexual, gender conforming beings (to name a few) claiming ‘expert standing’. My only hope is to use my growing experience and bank of knowledge for a greater purpose, which is to raise awareness and bridge this polarity between ‘them’ and ‘us’ to a reflect a cohesive and all-encompassing society” – (Personal reflections from Resh)


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