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Updated by Rajashri Venkatesh on Nov 05, 2017
Headline for List Of Celebrities/Social Activists Fighting for LGBT Rights
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List Of Celebrities/Social Activists Fighting for LGBT Rights

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in India face the danger of being imprisoned up to a lifetime because of their sexual orientation. Homosexual intercourse is a criminal offence under section 377 of the Indian Penal Code since 1860. Mental, physical, emotional and economic violence against LGBT community in India prevails. Lacking support from family, society or police many gay rape victims stay silent. For more visit :

Gopi Shankar

He is the originator and Founder of Srishti Madurai. He conducted more than 25 Seminars, Interactive sessions on Gender & Sexuality for 8000 students in Madurai. He coined the regional Tamil terms for Genderqueer people & wrote the first book on Gender-Variants in Tamil. He also organised Asia's first Genderqueer Pride Parade.

Harish Iyer

Harish is one of the most vocal voices for the LGBT campaign worldwide. It is thus, not surprising that he is listed at #71 in the World Pride Powerlist 2013. He shares the honour with Stephen Fry, Ricky Martin, Elton John, Martina Navratilova to name a few. He is the only Indian National in the list.

Celina Jaitly

Bollywood actress Celina Jaitly has defiantly declined to stop her fight for equal rights on behalf of the LGBT community, despite many years of receiving death threats of her own, as well as her children, she continues to fight on regardless. The 32-year-old star and former Miss India was named United Nations Equality Champion by U.N.

Anjali Gopalan

At the helm of fighting for rights of LGBT community and those infected with HIV, Gopalan was recently awarded the Knight of the Legion of Honour by the French Embassy for her contributions. Known for her consistent efforts in her domain, how important are awards and recognition for her? “It really feels nice, if someone values your efforts and decides to laud your efforts. However, not getting one, wouldn’t really stop me from pursuing what I want to. But yes, awards are great morale boosters,” says Gopalan. She started the Naz Foundation in the early ’90s, after working for a few years for the LGBT community in the USA.

Ashok Row Kavi

Ashok pioneered the visibility and acceptance of sexual minorities in India through programs that highlights the communities’ existence and the dangers they face in the society. He united and organized this marginalized group into a vocal community with a common identity, to build pressure on political and social forces in the country for social acceptance. In 1990, Ashok started "Bombay Dost," a first-of-its-kind publication that focussed exclusively on issues confronting the LGBT. This magazine became the platform that mobilised the LGBT community around India to share common challenges and make friends, taking away the sense of isolation and disempowerment they felt. It spun out articles to reduce stigma associated with being LGBT and shared resources for homosexual AIDS education. The magazine inspired gay people across the country to set up community-based organisations for the LGBT people.

Sridhar Rangayan

Sridhar Rangayan, filmmaker, gay rights activist and director of the ongoing KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, is glad that LGBT is a subject “out of the closet”. He hopes the country’s mainstream cinema understands “LGBT persons are part of the social mainstream” too. “I think LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) is a subject that is definitely out of the closet, especially since the 2009 Delhi High Court verdict – you read about it, you see people around who are open about their sexuality and want to live their life with dignity,” Rangayan told IANS in an email interaction from Mumbai.

Shaleen Rakesh

This poem, titled “Men’s Locker Room”, is perhaps the most erotic in The Lion and the Antler, a collection of poetry by Shaleen Rakesh, released recently in indie bookstores and online. These poems by the gay rights activist are also subtle hints of queer love. Instead of singing eulogies to the male physiognomy, as many queer male poets veer towards, Rakesh’s poetry evokes his love for the universe and all that is in it, including a longing to escape into a haven filled with fireflies and sanguine clouds. It’s not bitter or angry, but gentle and almost spiritual.