Youth Ki Awaaz

Because We Were Born This Way: Here Are Ten Indian Organizations Working For The LGBTQ

By Lakshya Kalra:

The last few years have seen the rise of the LGBTQ — the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-sexual and queer — community. New age freedom of thought and expression has given birth to various movements for the rights of the LGBTQ. People, cutting across economic and social classes, have joined together in their fight for their fundamental rights. India too has not been left unaffected by this world wide fervour. The striking down of the 377 was an important landmark in the fight for equal rights in our country. Several organizations and NGOs have come up to take this fight forward. Some of the important ones are:

The Humsafar trust:
The Humsafar Trust was set up in April 1994 by the leading gay activist Ashok Row Kavi along with two more self-identified homosexual men who desired to reach out to the gay population in Mumbai and surrounding areas. The trust offers a unique workshop which deals with coming out to self and family, dealing with relationships, with legal issues of gay men, tackling problems with cheaters and hustlers, health and human rights related issues.

Trikone (India):
The organization was founded in 1986. It is a non-profit, social and political organization and claims to be the oldest of its kind in the world. Trikone publishes an eponymous magazine with an international base of subscribers several times a year.

Udaan trust:
Udaan Trust, founded in 1992, is an Indian non-governmental organization operating in the state of Maharashtra. It focuses on issues of sexual health within the homosexual and transgender communities and provides services such as condom distribution, sex education, counselling, and medical services to at-risk populations. The trust also attempts to increase awareness of issues relevant to the rights of homosexual and transgender individuals.

Naz Foundation (India):
The Naz Foundation made a place for itself in the Indian history books when it successfully petitioned against the unjust section 377 of the IPC in the historic Naz Foundation v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi court case. This foundation has been one of the leading NGOs in the fight for the fundamental rights of the LGBTQ community.

Adhikaar is an advocacy and activist organisation that works for securing equal citizenship rights for all LGBTQ persons. Based in New Delhi, India, it works in direct partnership with 13 grassroots LGBTQ community organisations from different parts of the country.

Bharosa trust:
Bharosa trust aims to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among vulnerable communities in Lucknow through organisational development and capacity building of Bharosa implementing and managing a male sexual health program in Lucknow (U.P.), India.

Sangama is a sexuality minority, sex workers, and PLHIV, human rights organization for individuals oppressed due to their sexual preference or occupation. Sexuality minorities include, but are not limited to, hijras, kothis, double-deckers, jogappas, lesbians, bisexuals, homosexuals, gays, Female-to-male/male-to-female transsexuals and other transgender. They aim to help live their lives with self-acceptance, self-respect and dignity. Sangama aims to bring sexuality, sexual preference and gender identity into the realm of public discourse and link it to gender, human rights development and other social movements. They campaign for the changes in the existing laws, which discriminate against sexuality minorities, including sex workers and people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA).

Sangini (India) trust:
Sangini strives towards enabling and creating spaces for/by individuals dealing with issues around their sexuality, i.e. women attracted to women, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. Formed in 1997 in New Delhi, it is the oldest community support program for LBT individuals, women attracted to women in India.

Sappho is a support group for lesbian, bisexual and transgender women. With its base in Kolkata, West Bengal, it is the only group of its kind in the whole of eastern India, founded on 20th June 1999. The primary goal of the organization was to provide safe space for women with same sex preference but gradually it moved into a rights oriented movement to fight discrimination and hatred against marginalized women with same sex preference.

Maan foundation:
Maan Foundation is a national NGO dedicated to the empowerment of the LGBT community, providing support in the areas of sexual health, human rights, social equality and overall well-being. It is based in Lucknow, UP.