LGBT Intolerance: A Common Bond between Nigeria and India

The fight against 377 will continue in India even as many countries adopt regressive laws.

The fight against 377 will continue in India even as many countries adopt regressive laws.

Five years ago today – July 2, 2009 – was a historic day for India’s gay movement. On that day, the Delhi High Court decriminalised homosexuality. This ruling marked a sea change, a transformative moment when a history of intolerance was at last ended.

Though correct, the judgment was sadly impermanent, being overturned by the Indian Supreme Court last December, reinstating an archaic law from the British colonial era that criminalized homosexuality as “against the order of nature.” A month later, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed the controversial Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill, which bans not only same-sex marriage, but also homosexual behavior, organisations that advocate for gay rights, and even gatherings of members of the LGBT community.

Current laws in both India and Nigeria disregard the basic rights of each country’s citizens. Bisi Alimi, the first Nigerian to come out on national television there, said, “The difference between India and Nigeria is that while in India, it’s the penal code regarding homosexual behaviour that has been reinstated, Nigeria has actually gone through a process of constitutional criminalisation of homosexuality and homosexual relationships.”

While the criminalisation of homosexuality in Nigeria is certainly more sweeping than India, these laws are not confined to simply policing private spaces. The law in India has been often used to justify harassment of sexual and gender minorities in public. India is also experiencing an uptick in cases of violence against the LGBT community, although most go unreported, and for the ones that make news, there is little justice. Nigerian rights activists are already documenting similar injustices and violence.

“The advent of this new law has brought about a system legitimising brutalities. We have seen an increase in witch hunting of LGBT people, accusing them based on assumption. Five people have been charged so far, and many awaiting trials,” Bisi adds.

Some have compared the hatred of homosexuality of Nigerians to their love for football, the only two issues on which the country stands united. A recent public poll in the country shows that 98% of Nigerians think homosexuality is wrong. This contrasts with India where, at least, the educated middle class shows some support for gay rights. A recent poll conducted among Hindustan Times readers showed 80% opposed criminalization of homosexuality.

LGBT activists in Nigeria, like most of their colleagues in Africa, operate in extremely hostile and challenging environments. They remain under-resourced and severely isolated. India’s LGBT movement has greater access to resources and more support, although even some queer rights activists still struggle to be “out.”

“Now with the law, provision of services to LGBT people – including HIV services – is illegal. That means charities doing this work will have to close, and many have started folding up already. This will not only affect HIV prevention services but also treatment. Many men who need antiretroviral therapy will not be able to access it easily, and if they do at all, it will have to be done underground,” says Bisi.

Despite differences in the nature and magnitude of the homophobia, the impact of these laws reaches beyond LGBT communities in both Nigeria and India, impeding the work of civil society, public health workers and human rights defenders. Above all, what is happening in Nigeria, India and unfortunately too many other countries is a severe blow to the momentum of the global LGBT movement and is a huge cause of concern for human rights around the world.

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The author of this post is Shaleen Rakesh, a gay rights activist and was instrumental in filing the Section 377 petition on behalf of Naz Foundation (India) Trust in 2001. Shaleen manages the ‘207 against 377’ campaign at India HIV/AIDS Alliance, where he also serves as Director: Technical Support. The campaign brings together the 207 organizations implementing the Pehchan programme on a common platform to undertake advocacy at national, state and district levels to protest against the 11th December 2013 Supreme Court judgment upholding constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code thereby recriminalizing same-sex sexual behaviour. 

India HIV/AIDS Alliance (Alliance India) is a diverse partnership that brings together committed organisations and communities to support sustained responses to HIV in India. Complementing the Indian national programme, Alliance India works through capacity building, knowledge sharing, technical support and advocacy. Through our network of partners, Alliance India supports the delivery of effective, innovative, community-based HIV programmes to key populations affected by the epidemic.

36,656,825 and Counting

Larry Kramer

In 1983, Larry Kramer wrote an article for the New York Native filled with righteous anger, brilliant insight and, reading it now more than 30 years later, electric prophecy. It began, “If this article doesn’t scare the shit out of you, we’re in real trouble.” He proceeds to catalogue the inaction and sheer terror that defined the emerging epidemic.

Kramer recounts the failures of government officials, the medical establishment, researchers, the media, and the gay community itself. With prescient accuracy he connects disenfranchisement with vulnerability to HIV and describes the unrelenting stigma that even today shapes our still inadequate response to the epidemic. He is perceptive as he is relentless. His message: “we must fight to live.”

Kramer’s article was titled “1,112 and Counting.” After three decades, we’re still counting. More than 36 million people have died from AIDS and nearly as many are living with HIV. In India, roughly 150,000 people died from AIDS-related causes last year, ten times the number in the United States. For all our progress, the fight is not over.

Larry Kramer wrote “The Normal Heart” in 1985 during the grimmest and most uncertain days of the epidemic. No other play – no other work of art really – comes as close to capturing those times, and it resonates even today. A long time coming, the film version from HBO brings us back and in doing so reminds us what it takes to act up and fight back.

“The Normal Heart” aptly gets its title from a W.H. Auden poem “September 1, 1939” written as the world teetered on the brink of another epochal tragedy, World War II. What was true in 1939 was true in 1985 and remains true today:

Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

The AIDS epidemic has reached across the world in ways that perhaps only Larry Kramer would have imagined in those early days, and there is still no choice.


The author of this blog, James Robertson, is Executive Director of India HIV/AIDS Alliance in New Delhi.

Alliance India brings together committed organisations and communities to support sustained responses to HIV in India. Complementing the Indian national programme, Alliance India works through capacity building, knowledge sharing, technical support and advocacy. Through our network of partners, Alliance India supports the delivery of effective, innovative, community-based HIV programmes to key populations affected by the epidemic.

Trans-formation to End Discrimination (#IDAHOT 2014)

Alliance India’s Simran Shaikh, a hijra and AIDS activist, speaks out against discrimination and for LGBT equality.

Alliance India’s Simran Shaikh, a hijra and AIDS activist, speaks out against discrimination and for LGBT equality.

May 17th marks International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) around the world. I am sitting in my office at Alliance India in New Delhi as I gather my thoughts on the stigma and discrimination I have faced my whole life because I subvert gender conventions. My journey from a Parsi boy to a transgender activist has been filled with discrimination, stigma, violence, silent screams, and also triumphs. (Read more about Simran’s life.)

To honour this global day that celebrates sexual and gender diversity, I want to share my thoughts on the recent Indian Supreme Court judgement protecting the rights of transgenders.

On April 15th this year, the Supreme Court judgment recognised the third gender in India and granting legal recognition to Indians who identify as neither male nor female – to those of us those who identify as transgender women and men or as hijras. “Discrimination is no longer my favourite word,” I yelled with pride as my friends joined in the celebrations after this landmark judgment. The ruling guarantees the nation’s transgender population essential rights, including equal access to education and employment In India.

But will this stop people from staring at me on Delhi Metro trains, autorickshaw wallahs refusing me rides, and fellow passengers moving away from me on buses? Why do they do this you wonder? Because my existence bothers them. I don’t seem to fit the boxes they have neatly packed themselves into. I refuse to look and behave the way they expect. I offend their sensibilities by being me. Can a judgment validating my existence change all this? I don’t know, but it feels like we’re on the right track.

Homophobia is an aversion towards those whose sexual behavior differs from the heteronormative, and transphobia is an aversion to those whose gender identities transcend the male-female gender binary. Negative attitudes manifest in many ways, from contempt, fear and hatred to verbal abuse, harassment, and violence. Are these attitudes rational? In most cases,they are rooted in a belief that our differences are against the order of nature.

Over India’s history, hijras have been a revered community, but when this region was colonised by the British, regressive laws were put in place outlawing homosexuality and criminalising these communities. Sixty-seven years after independence from British rule, the third gender has been given legal protection in India. I don’t know how many more years will pass before the repeal of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises consensual same-sex sexual behavior.

While the struggle to end discriminatory laws continues, I am deeply troubled by the everyday injustices faced by my LGBT brothers and sisters. We need to fight the internalised homophobia and transphobia in our communities and transform our fear of our own gender and sexual identities. We must celebrate who we are. Violence and discrimination must not be tolerated anymore. It cannot be a crime to exist. To deny our right to exist is the crime!

I am a proud member of the hijra community. In my teens, rejected by my family, I was given shelter by a hijra when all other doors were closed to me. Even today there are few professional options for someone like me. As a member of the Alliance India team, I’m fortunate to be doing professional work in HIV/AIDS that can have such a great impact on the transgender community in India. I dream of a day when all who are like me are given equal opportunities to thrive. Equal opportunity on paper must be put into practice. Changing attitudes will open minds, and with open minds, we can trans-form the world.

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The author of this post, Simran Shaikh, is a Programme Officer for the Pehchan programme at India HIV/AIDS Alliance in New Delhi.

With support from the Global Fund, Pehchan builds the capacity of 200 community-based organisations (CBOs) for men who have sex with men (MSM), transgenders and hijras in 17 states in India to be more effective partners in the government’s HIV prevention programme. By supporting the development of strong CBOs, Pehchan addresses some of the capacity gaps that have often prevented CBOs from receiving government funding for much-needed HIV programming. Named Pehchan which in Hindi means ‘identity’, ‘recognition’ or ‘acknowledgement,’ this programme is implemented by India HIV/AIDS Alliance in consortium with Humsafar Trust, PNRO, SAATHII, Sangama, Alliance India Andhra Pradesh, and SIAAP and will reach more than 450,000 MSM, transgenders and hijras by 2015. It is the Global Fund’s largest single-country grant to date focused on the HIV response for vulnerable sexual minorities.

Towards the Right Side of History

Rally_blog_shaleen_19April2014

As a gay rights activist, I am overjoyed by the recent Supreme Court ruling which gives legal protection to the transgender community. Ever since we heard the news, there has been an outpouring of celebration, joy and relief. The news has made the entire LGBT community in India smile, which is not something we did much of following the Section 377 ruling of the Supreme Court in December last year which recriminalized homosexuality.

So why is this ruling important? To begin with, it’s a significant step forward for our transgender friends who have been discriminated against for a long time. In their victory, we feel happy, proud and hopeful. It’s as much their success as it is success for the wider LGBT movement in India, of which the transgender community has been a vital and integral part. It’s true that transgenders in India, like elsewhere, are a more visible part of the community, so a decision that affirms their identity is a shot in the arm for LGBT activists and community alike.

The decision has also made me more confident that India is ready for a broader dialogue around gender identity and sexual orientation. It’s taken many years of struggle to get here, and I’m not sure how many more years it will take for our community to be treated as equals. Section 377 is again the most immediate hurdle which we face. Tagged with criminality, equality remains a luxury for LGBT Indians.

I want my country to support my desire to live openly as a gay man. My government should not undermine healthy and productive relationships in my life. Basic freedoms that most Indians take for granted are out of reach for the LGBT community because 377 remains the law of the land.

After this burst of celebration, I am left wondering how much longer I will have to wait to feel ‘legal’. Next week, the Supreme Court will hear the curative petition against Section 377. Like many LGBT Indians, I will be waiting anxiously to learn which side of history the court will stand.

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Shaleen Rakesh is a gay rights activist and was instrumental in filing the Section 377 petition on behalf of Naz Foundation (India) Trust in 2001. Shaleen manages the ‘207 against 377’ campaign at India HIV/AIDS Alliance, where he also serves as Director: Technical Support. The campaign brings together the 207 organizations implementing the Pehchan programme on a common platform to undertake advocacy at national, state and district levels to protest against the 11th December 2013 Supreme Court judgment upholding constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code thereby recriminalizing same-sex sexual behaviour. 

More or Less Equal: Reflections on Freedom

In India, there is a need to make sexuality more visible and to voice issues around sexuality more publicly, without stigma and shame. (Photo by Peter Caton for India HIV/AIDS Alliance.)

In India, there is a need to make sexuality more visible and to voice issues around sexuality more publicly, without stigma and shame. (Photo by Peter Caton for India HIV/AIDS Alliance.)

The Indian Constitution declares that all Indians are granted the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression. On Independence Day, Shaleen Rakesh explores what freedom means for young Indians struggling to express their sexuality:

I am at the barber’s shop, and reflecting on the sensual quality of something as practical as having a haircut in Delhi. The guy is massaging my scalp, it is highly tactile, and I am instantly aware of it. In India, there seems to be an unconsciousness around the body – you don’t have personal space, people do not think it wrong to crowd close together, to touch one another. In buses and the metro, you become aware of a very close and mostly unselfconscious proximity.

This unconsciousness of certain aspects of anatomy and gender and the way you are in public is a paradox – in some ways India is a tolerant society, since it recognizes homo-affective and homosocial relationships. As far as sexual behaviour is concerned, India can be very accommodating, but it becomes very intolerant and homophobic when it comes to a question of identity.

It seems like a constant partition of freedoms. You are free to do what you want but not express freely who you are.

There is a need to make sexuality more visible and to voice issues around sexuality more publicly without stigma and shame. People who are straight also feel sexuality is silenced in India: they are victims of a similar oppression. The objective of breaking silence is to look at the issue from a cultural point of view.

When I’m still waiting for my shampoo, three or four young guys walk in. One of them is dark-complexioned and is looking at himself very intently in the mirror. His friends start pulling his leg: “Dude, what a fabulous complexion you have! How come you don’t have a girlfriend?” The boy was obviously embarrassed about being dark and being teased publicly but couldn’t find the words to retaliate and offered an embarrassed smile. His friends were laughing.

Soon the friendly banter started recounting failed sexual overtures with girls. I thought the young guys, in their talking and making fun of their own sexual feats – or lack of them – there was a great irony at the core, and a certain sadness also. I felt sorry for them for a moment, thinking, why do they need to be in this place where the only way they can articulate some of their frustrations is in the form of a joke? I identified with it. At 19, I felt oppressed about my own sexuality. Of course, I couldn’t even talk about it in barber shops. I still can’t actually. Invisibility and silence are the problem we share.

As I walk out of the barber shop, I realize how conflicted and bottled up most Indians are when it comes to talking about sexuality. It’s a cultural prison most of us find difficult to step out of.

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The author, Shaleen Rakesh, is Director: Technical Support, India HIV/AIDS Alliance.

India HIV/AIDS Alliance (Alliance India) is a diverse partnership that brings together committed organisations and communities to support sustained responses to HIV in India. Complementing the Indian national programme, Alliance India works through capacity building, knowledge sharing, technical support and advocacy. Through our network of partners, Alliance India supports the delivery of effective, innovative, community-based HIV programmes to key populations affected by the epidemic.

Four Years to a Different Me: Reflections on the Anniversary of the 377 Decision

On July 2, 2009, the Delhi High Court read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, decriminalizing homosexuality in India. Four years on, the impact of this historic ruling still resonates in the lives of LGBT Indians. Photo by Peter Caton for India HIV/AIDS Alliance

On July 2, 2009, the Delhi High Court read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, decriminalizing homosexuality in India. Four years on, the impact of this historic ruling still resonates in the lives of LGBT Indians. Photo by Peter Caton for India HIV/AIDS Alliance

‘I still cannot forget that moment. Though it happened some four years back, the memories stay with me. I tried every possible way, but it refuses to fade away. I live with it every moment of my life,’ said Shilpa in a soft voice.

I met Shilpa last week during a train journey to Jaipur. It was an early morning train, and mercifully there were not many passengers in my coach. I tried to catch some sleep, but as the train crossed into the Delhi cantonment station, I heard the loud voices of some hijras on board the train begging for money. As the three of them entered my compartment, one of them caught my attention: she stood at 5’2’’, had a petite frame and dressed in impeccable floral salwar suit. With an attractive smile and an elegant grace that preserved her dignity, she put forward her hennaed right hand to bless every passenger and beg.

The other two hijras of slightly shorter stature than the first stood behind her in complete silence but with same gesture – hands forward in expectation of at least a five-rupee coin. Many passengers ignored them, turning their heads away, cursing under their breath but loud enough for others to hear, ‘Oh God! What have I done today to see such cursed faces so early in the morning.’ All three of them pretended otherwise, but it clearly showed that they had internalized this humiliation and indifference.

As the one in the floral salwar approached me, I smiled and said, ‘Hi.’ She was perplexed at first, a bit hesitant as to how to return my greeting. Was it the first time that a stranger greeted her or even acknowledged her presence? Before she could respond, I gestured for her to sit next to me. Surprisingly, she sat without any reluctance. ‘This is going to be an interesting journey,’ I thought to myself. She silently signaled to the other two though her big kolhed eyes to continue begging in other compartments.

‘Hi, I am Rahul,’ I introduced myself in Hindi. Her smile broadened, ‘My name is Shilpa.’ Our conversation began but soon I realized it was she who took the lead, asking about my occupation, my trip to Jaipur, where I live in Delhi, where I’d stay in Jaipur. Then I asked about her life. She talked about how beautiful her childhood was and got excited as if unraveling some mystery. The other passengers looked on in disbelief, but I didn’t care. She described the delight of wearing her mother’s make-up, albeit secretly, and her desire to be an air hostess as they are so beautiful and always dress so nicely.

As she grew, she told me, she realized she could never achieve her dreams because she was born a male. In adolescence, her family scolded her for being feminine. She recalled one day in 8th class: ‘My teacher took attendance and when he called my name, he questioned derogatorily, “Are you like this since birth? So sissy, such a disgrace to your family.” Everyone in class laughed loudly. I stood there frozen. I did not know how to react. My eyes were in tears. No matter how hard I tried, I could not hide my feelings. One of the students commented, “Look he is crying like a girl…sorry, she is crying like a girl, or better still, it is crying like a girl.” After a while, the class resumed, but I did not speak to anyone. I could not concentrate.’

Shilpa continued, ‘There was no one I could share my pain of being “other”…or my joy. For my classmates that day was like any other, but it changed my life forever. Everything changed for me from that moment.’ Her eyes were moist, but this time she controlled her tears. After a few seconds, she carried on in the same soft voice, ‘I did not go home that day. I sat in a park. Ram Niwas Garden. In Jaipur. At around five in the evening, I noticed others like me, feminine just like me, wearing ladies’ clothes, jewelry, even lipstick. “So I am not alone,” I thought to myself.

‘I took courage and walked up to them. I stood in front of them. One of them noticed and smiled, “Who are you, beta?” I did not reply. Another continued, “Have you lost your way home?” Again I stood motionless just watching them in awe. The third one touched my cheeks and said to the others, “This boy is like us,” and then turned to me, ‘Am I right?” I smiled, nodding in agreement. They asked about my family, but I refused to say a word. They offered me tea and biscuits which I gladly took. Later they took me to their home, a dera where hijras live, a different world for me.

‘There were so many like me. They offered me female clothes. Though too big, I was happy to wear them. I danced the whole evening in that long skirt. I remember it clearly, a magenta ghaghara. Nobody called me names for wearing it. Everyone called me beautiful in that dress. I slept peacefully that evening, perhaps the best sleep ever. Next morning, the senior hijra whom everyone addressed as “guru” re-named me “Shilpa” and declared that from then on I was her daughter. I was so happy now to have an identity, one that resonates with my personality, my emotions and my desire to be a woman. From then I started my life as Shilpa and moved to Agra to live with my nani, the mother of my guru.

‘Did you ever try to reconnect with your family?’ I asked. ‘This is my family. I live with my family,’ came the answer. I corrected myself, ‘I mean your biological family.’ Unhappiness overcame her face, and she replied, ‘Yes, I tried to but through my neighbors. They told me that initially my family was a bit worried, but they neither searched for me nor filed a police report. Later they performed my last rituals and after that, my brother declared proudly that my family was finally free of the curse of “that feminine creature.” When I came to know all this, I was depressed and thought to end my life. My nani suggested that I do daily prayers, meditation, yoga but nothing helped. I still get nightmares. When I hear a group of people laughing, that memory of a fourteen-year-old being humiliated by his classmates and teachers returns.’

She stopped. I was quiet. She looked out of the window. After a few moments, she said that this was the first time she had ever shared her personal story with anyone. Then she added, ‘Believe it or not, I am grateful to my parents for performing my last rites. I never expected any dignity in my lifetime or in death.’

As she stood to leave, I quickly asked her if she remembered the date of the school incident. She turned back and said, ‘How can I ever forget that day. It was a day of my death and rebirth. It was July 2nd, 2009.’

July 2nd, 2009!

I gasped, remembering it as the same day of the Delhi High Court’s historic judgment on Section 377 of Indian Penal Code was read. It held that that the criminalization of homosexuality was unconstitutional, noting that:

If there is one constitutional tenet that can be said to be the underlying theme of the Indian Constitution, it is that of ‘inclusiveness’. This Court believes that the Indian Constitution reflects this value deeply ingrained in Indian society, nurtured over several generations. The inclusiveness that Indian society traditionally displayed, literally in every aspect of life, is manifest in recognizing a role in society for everyone. Those perceived by the majority as “deviants’ or ‘different’ are not on that score excluded or ostracized.

Where society can display inclusiveness and understanding, such persons can be assured of a life of dignity and non-discrimination. This was the ‘spirit behind the Resolution’ of which Nehru spoke so passionately. In our view, Indian Constitutional law does not permit the statutory criminal law to be held captive by the popular misconceptions of who LGBTs are. It cannot be forgotten that discrimination is antithesis of equality and that it is the recognition of equality which will foster the dignity of every individual. 

Shipla’s rebirth coincided with a transformation in Indian society itself. Just as Shipla’s story is not yet fully told, the 377 decision’s impact is still being written. Now even four years on, the transformation has only just begun.

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The author of this post, Yadavendra Singh, is Senior Programme Officer: Capacity Building for Alliance India’s Pehchan Programme.

With support from the Global FundPehchan builds the capacity of 200 community-based organisations (CBOs) for men who have sex with men (MSM), transgenders and hijras in 17 states in India to be more effective partners in the government’s HIV prevention programme. By supporting the development of strong CBOs, Pehchan will address some of the capacity gaps that have often prevented CBOs from receiving government funding for much-needed HIV programming. Named Pehchan which in Hindi means ‘identity’, ‘recognition’ or ‘acknowledgement,’ this programme is implemented by India HIV/AIDS Alliance in consortium with Humsafar Trust, PNROSAATHIISangama, and SIAAP and will reach 453,750 MSM, transgenders and hijras by 2015. It is the Global Fund’s largest single-country grant to date focused on the HIV response for vulnerable sexual minorities.

Shivananda Khan, OBE (1948-2013)

Shivananda Khan, OBE (1948-2013)

India HIV/AIDS Alliance remembers the life and achievements of Shivananda Khan, one of South Asia’s leading activists who left an indelible mark on the global LGBT rights movement and did so much to expand the HIV response for sexual minorities all over the world. The following remembrance and poem were written by Alliance India staff members who worked closely with Shiv over the years.

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Celebrating Shiv
A remembrance by Shaleen Rakesh

In the summer of 2000, I was invited as a guest speaker at one of India’s first national gay conferences in Hyderabad. The event was organised by a man I had heard much about, Shivananda Khan. Holding a regional conference of this scale was not an easy task in those days. I met several activists there for the first time, people who are leaders of the movement today like Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Vijay Nair, and Sunil Menon, among many others. Shiv was his usual dramatic self: cracking quips with elan, cigarette in hand, a perfect blend of ice and fire.

Shiv and I bonded from the start. He told me to be bold and chart my own course. Sometimes he would look at me with a long stare and say I was meant to be an activist. He said he never saw me happier than when I put on the activist hat. Shiv was the conduit for funding from the UK Lotteries Commission that supported the programme I headed at the Naz Foundation (India) Trust working with men who have sex with men and transgenders. I used to joke with Shiv that the British put in place Section 377, a colonial law against homosexuality, and now British money was funding efforts to have it revoked!

I will never forget the hours we spent together at Hotel Samrat in New Delhi, where Shiv, the author Jeremy Seabrook, and I would have long conversations on the nature of gay identity in India and alternative pathways to freedom. In Shiv, I had a soulmate with whom I could speak intelligently of repression and its costs.

Shiv’s contributions to the queer movement are too many to count. Though he had a global influence, the focus of his life’s work was always South Asia. In recognition of his efforts, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2005, perhaps an ironic if deserved reward for someone who had worked so hard to achieve freedom for sexual minorities in a post-colonial world.

To a fellow activist and my dear friend, a final goodbye.

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Remembering Shivananda Khan
A poem by Yadavendra Singh

Though the sun was shining bright
The winds were blowing hot
Yet it felt like a cold and silent night
Night of December
‘Coz you were no more amongst us
Us – Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgenders, Hijras,
We all want to thank you – yet again
You shall continue to inspire generations to come
With your charisma, your leadership
Your vision, your zeal
None can ever have this cut healed
Today we remember you – with our eyes closed, with our breath silent
We are sad but we won’t shed a tear
As we have a long way to clear
And we all want to thank you – yet again.

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