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6 Most of the Famous LGBTQ+ Activists in India

by Christine Kinori

Throughout the years, people from the LGBTQ+ community have been facing stigma around the world. But, in the past few years, things have gotten better for the queer community, as more people are raising awareness, and people are adopting an attitude of inclusivity. Despite the strict societal norms and taboos, some people from the queer community gained the courage to be themselves despite the stigma. Today, we take a look at India, which has made strides as a country.

Below are 6 of the most famous LGBTQ+ activists in India who have chosen to fight for the rights of the queer community.

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil

More than ten years ago, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil revealed that he is gay to the public. Since then, he has been avidly raising awareness towards homosexuality and the impacts of HIV/AIDS on the LGBTQ+ community.

Despite being disowned by his family, Mavendra did not cower; instead, he set up a charitable foundation known as the Lakshya Trust, which helps bisexual and transgender people in his community.

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil

Sonal Giani

Sonal Giani was ousted at the age of 19 without her express permission and faced trauma. However, she overcame all that, and now, she is actively fighting for the rights of the LGBTQ community.

The widely-known activist has been featured in films that represent the LGBTQ+ community, such as the series Hum Tum. In this film, she shares real-life experiences and the struggles of being a bisexual woman in India.
Sonal is one of the co-founders of the country’s most significant LGBTQ+ youth initiatives, known as Yaariyan and Umang. The initiative represents lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people in Mumbai. She also works as the Advocacy Manager at Humsafar Trust.

Sonal Giani

Ashok Kavi

Kavi is a journalist by profession and a prominent activist of LGBTQ+ community rights in India. Being the founder and chairperson of Humsafar Trust, Kavi was among the first people to talk about the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in India.

After he came out, he dropped out of college due to people’s adverse reactions and enrolled as a Hindu monk in Ramakrishna Mission, where he studied theology. During this time, another monk encouraged him to explore and express his homosexuality. Kavi founded by the first gay magazine known as Bombay Dost.

Ashok Kavi

Onir

Onir is among the few film directors in Bollywood who are open about their gay status. Onir studied film editing in Berlin and later returned to India as a filmmaker, film producer, and scriptwriter. His debut film was called Nikhil, which highlighted AIDS and same-sex relationships. He also directed another short film, I Am, which explored the lives of single motherhood, child abuse, displacement, and same-sex relationships.

Onir has won many awards, among them the I-VIEW Engendered Award for Outstanding Contribution.

Onir

Laxmi Narayan Tripathi

Laxmi is a renowned LGBTQ+ activist in India. She became famous in 2011 after featuring on the reality TV show “BIGG BOSS.” Many people cheer Tripathi for fighting for the recognition of transgender people as the third gender back in 2014.

Tripathi heads her religious movement known as Kinnar Akhada. On the first day of the Kumbh Mela, an ancient religious festival, her group of transgender people were the first to bathe at Yamuna rivers and the holy Ganges, which is reserved for Hindu priests.

Laxmi Narayan Tripathi

Akkai Padmashali

Akkai Padmashali’s journey as a trans-woman is one of courage and determination. Before finding her voice and fighting for the rights of the LGTBQ+ community, she had attempted suicide, worked as a beggar and sex worker.

Akkai is the first transgender woman to get a drivers license with her gender status as a female. In 2017, she married a fellow LGBTQ+ activist, Vasdev, who is a transman.

Akkai is the founder of Ondede, an NGO that helps build awareness about sexual diversity and the right to choose your sexual identity. She is the first person to receive Rajyotsava Prashasti, which is Karnataka’s second-highest civilian honor.

Akkai Padmashali

About the Author:

Christine Siamanta Kinori grew up in a little village in Kenya known as Loitoktok near the border of Kenya and Tanzania. All she wanted to do when she grew up was to explore the world. Her curiosity led her to join Nairobi University to pursue a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She later got a job with an amazing travel magazine Nomad Africa which gave her the opportunity to explore Africa. She also writes for numerous travel websites about Africa and tries to create a new narrative in the media about our aesthetic continent.

Christine claims to have somewhat unhealthy addiction to TV and reading, as it is a fun way to keep herself occupied during the long journeys for her travel writing. She is also a believer of letting people be their beautiful selves. To her, love is love and it is the greatest gift we have as humans.

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