It is 2018 and the LGBTQI+ community of India is yet to get a government-sponsored support system at their aid. Moreover, it is very rare that a gay, transgender or any non-binary person to get the necessary emotional, mental and social support once they come out of the closet. Maybe the scenario is changing a bit with the urban youth, but it continues to be regressive in most parts of the country, especially if the person concerned comes from a marginalised background.
In the face of such rampant homophobia that is so prevalent and normalised in the society, there are certain non-governmental organisations who are trying to help and improve the situation. The impact and contribution of these NGOs and other similar organisations can be truly understood if one considers the amount of social, political and often religious invasions that are faced by them.
Here are some of the organizations in the county that are trying to lend a hand and help them get basic hygiene and healthcare, professional therapy and counselling to the person and family, medical help and legal support. They also offer safe spaces for conversation, socialising, networking and cultural or athletic activities
Naz Foundation, Delhi
Whenever the discussion of LGBT organisations in India happens, the name of Naz Foundation comes first in mind. This Delhi-based NGO started out in 1994 for helping the community fight social and medical HIV/AIDS related issues. They have been leading the LGBT movement from the frontlines, being the ones who filed the PIL against Section 377 and successfully got it done in 2009, as per the ruling of Delhi High Court. But since that got reversed in 2013, right now they are one of the many petitioners whose arguments are being heard by the seven-member bench in Supreme Court.
Humsafar Trust, Mumbai
Humsafar Trust did for Mumbai what Naz did in Delhi. Founded by the publisher of Bombay Dost, Ashok Row Kavi, yet another petitioner against Section 377, Humsafar Trust has tireless thrived towards providing a safe sanctuary for the LGBT community of Mumbai. They have several sub-organisations as well – ‘Gaurav’ for male sex workers, ‘Kinnar Kasturi’ and ‘Kinnar Asmita’ for transgenders, ‘Sanjeevani’ for MSM and transgenders with HIV, and ‘Umang’ and ‘Yaariyan’ for LBT and LGBT people.
Sappho for Equality, Kolkata
Named after the much controversial, yet much celebrated lesbian lyricist-poet of ancient Greek, Sappho, this organization based in Kolkata works for lesbian, bisexual and trans-men. Established in 2003, the NGO has brought together the collective voice of the large part of the LBT community in eastern India, breaking the heteronormative social structure dictated by patriarchy.
Orinam was founded in 2003 to bring the LGBTQIA+ and allies of Chennai together and form a support structure through film festivals, literary and musical events, art workshops, legal advocacy, peer counselling and discussions, educational resources, healthcare and psychological support. Their website is bilingual (Tamil and English) and gives a platform to the silenced voices of many through personal stories, blogs and features.
Kerala is known for being the most progressive of states when it comes to LGBT rights, but there is still work to be done. Queerythm hosts regular first Saturday meetings for the community at the Alliance Francaise premises and helps the LGBT people in every way possible. This organization helped Zara Sheikha, the first transgender person from Kerala to land a job in an MNC.
Srishti Madurai, Madurai
Srishti Madurai was formed in 2011 by Gopi Shankar, a gender non-conforming LGBT activist (also the youngest, openly intersexual candidate for TN Legislative Election, 2016) as a gender-queer student volunteer group to address the issues faced by the community in the non-metro-cities of Tamil Nadu. They provide face-face counselling as well as 24×7 helpline, along with conducting workshops, seminars and cultural events to spread love and awareness.
Source: Human Rights Watch
Sarathi Trust, Nagpur
Sarathi Trust, founded in 2006, is an organization in Nagpur to create a space where members of the LGBT community can feel safe and secure, get physical, psychological and financial help and find themselves being accepted in the mainstream of the society.
Swabhava Trust, Bangalore
Swabhava is a charitable trust in Bangalore, founded by gay-rights activist and writer Vinay Chandran in 1999. The core objective of the organisation is to provide support to gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex, transgender or any other non-binary gender and sexuality – individually and as a community. What first started as an over-the-telephone counselling service has now stretched out to medical, social, financial, psychological and legal support.
Samapathik Trust, Pune
Samapathik Trust was formed in 2002 by gay-activist Bindumadhav khire for the purpose of empowering the LGBTQI+ minorities of Pune through education, legal advocacy and social support.
Asexuality India, Bangalore
Source: Asexuality India (via Vagabomb)
There are quite a few organisations for the LGBT community, but very few for the Asexual people of India. Encouraged by the work done by AVEN, the popular global asexuality community, Poornima Kumar and Sai Kumar founded Asexuality India in 2015 trying to give the aces of India a similar platform. Asexuality is a confusing concept to a lot of Indian communities, and Asexuality India tries to spread awareness and bring information, while providing support to the aces.