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Chief Justice A. P. Shah (Retd.) has authored several important opinions in the areas of freedom of speech and expression, environmental rights, disability rights and women's rights in India. One of Chief Justice Shah's important opinions has been the decision in Naz Foundation v. Union of India and Others, 2009, where the bench held that the criminalisation of consensual sex between adults in private violates the Constitution's guarantees of dignity, equality, and freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation and therefore, Section 377 was 'read down' so that it no longer criminalised consensual sex between adults in private. Chief Justice Shah also struck down the decision of Censor authorities not to release the documentary Aakrosh on recent Gujarat communal riots, directing that the film be granted certification.
Anandi Yuvaraj is the Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator of the International Community of Women with HIV/AIDS based in India. She has also worked as the Program Manager for HIV and Sexual Reproductive Health at PATH's India office and a Senior Programme Officer with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. Since testing HIV-positive in 1997, Anandi has established a local organisation to support people living with HIV and has been instrumental in mobilising communities affected by HIV/AIDS to raise their voices, needs and concerns to build supportive environments.
Anita Ghai is an associate professor in the department of Psychology, Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi. She is a disability rights activist in the areas of education, health, sexuality and gender. Currently she is a Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum Library, Teen Murti Bhawan and also the President of the Indian Association for Women's Studies. She is on the editorial board of Disability and Society, and Scandinavian Journal of Disability. She has authored two books including,
Arundhati Roy won the Booker Prize for The God of Small Things, her debut novelistic fiction, in 1997. In the last decade she has emerged as a foremost writer of political non-fiction. Emerging from her engagement with a number of contemporary movements, national and international developments, Arundhati Roy's provocative essays become interrogations about the nature and functioning of democracy and its many institutions. These essays are presently compiled in 3 volumes. The Algebra of Infinite Justice (2001), An Ordinary Person's Guide to the Empire and Listening to the Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy (2009).
Arifur Rahman has been a sex worker and transgender activist since 2002. He has been involved with the Sex Workers Network of Bangladesh from 2002 and is now working as a member (and executive committee member) of Socheton Shilpi Shongho, one of the most prominent transgender organisations in the country.
Ashrafun Nahar Misti is the founder and Executive Director of Women with Disabilities Development Foundation (WDDF) in Bangladesh. She is fully wheel chair dependent. She joined Bangladesh Protibandhi Kallyan Somity (BPKS) in 2001. She is a women's rights activist and a development worker for women with disabilities. She has experience in organising conferences, seminars and dialogues on issues of human rights, women's rights, disability rights and development at the national level. She has also worked in movement building on rights of women with disabilities and violence against women with disabilities.
Bhargavi Davar is the Founder and Managing Trustee of Bapu Trust, a mental health organisation based in Pune, India. She has published extensively on the subject of women and mental health, including the books Mental Health of Indian Women (1999) and Mental Health from a Gender Perspective (2001). Since 1998 Bhargavi Davar has engaged in networks with users' discussion forums, on evolving consumer perspectives in mental health, especially the care and treatment rights and civil liberties of persons, especially women, with a psychiatric disability.
Bhumika Shrestha is a transgender woman activist from Nepal and has been working for the Blue Diamond Society since 2004. She is a general convention member of the Nepali Congress Party. She is also vice president and LGBTI representative of a youth human rights group in Nepal. She won the national transgender contest (Ms Pink) in 2007 and is now working in BDS as human rights coordinator of the central region.
Bijaya Dhakal works as the Advocacy Officer and President of Jagriti Mahila Maha Sangh, a federation of female sex workers In Nepal. She has been working on sex workers and HIV/AIDS issues for many years.
Bishakha Datta is a non-fiction writer and documentary filmmaker with an abiding interest in gender, sexuality, and marginal points of view. She has a Masters in Communication from Stanford University and has been the Executive Director of Point of View since its inception. She has edited two anthologies on the lives and realities of women: And Who Will Make the Chapatis? (Stree, 1998) and 9 Degrees of Justice (Zubaan, 2010). Her filmography includes In The Flesh: Three Lives in Prostitution and Taza Khabar: Hot Off The Press. She is currently writing Selling Sex, a book on the struggle for sex workers' rights in India. She is on the boards of several non-profits, including CREA, Breakthrough, Dreamcatchers, Majlis, and the Wikimedia Foundation.
Chumki Begum is a former commercial sex-worker. She presently working as a field co-ordinator of a sex worker's organisation in Dhaka. She lives with her female partner and has 3 children.
Cindy Coltman is the Programme Director of Women Win, whose mission is to advance girl's and women's rights through the strategy of sport. As Programme Director, she is responsible for the global portfolio of 25 programme partners and impact assessment activities. In 2007, Cindy was the Head of Operations for Aflatoun, a social enterprise that promotes child social and financial education. Prior to Aflatoun, Cindy worked for 10 years with Nike European Middle East and Africa (EMEA, The Netherlands) in various business development, strategic planning and finance roles, amongst others on the EMEA senior management team as the Director of Strategic Planning. While at Nike, she was also very involved in a women's diversity network, supporting younger women in developing their potential.
Debolina Dutta is a human rights lawyer and researcher presently working with CREA as the Program Coordinator of Research and Advocacy programmes. She has a deep interest in issues of women's rights, sexuality, sex work and trafficking and child rights. She has been closely associated with the sex workers movement in Kolkata for over 8 years and has done research and legal trainings with them. Debolina has just completed her second documentary film as co-director on a fellowship from the Public Service Broadcasting Trust, New Delhi. The film titled
Deepa Vasudevan is a founding member of Sahayatrika, a collective working for the rights of lesbians, bisexual women, F2M transgender people and other queer/ sexuality minority communities in Kerala, India, since 2001. Sahayatrika has been instrumental in investigating and creating awareness about 'lesbian suicides', introducing sexuality minority rights as a political and social discourse and creating alliances with other social movements in the state of Kerala.
Durga Pujari is a sex worker associated with Veshya AIDS Mukabala Parishad (VAMP) which is an independent collective of sex workers in Maharashtra, India. VAMP manages the peer interventions in the sex worker community.
Durga Thapa has been working as a Project Coordinator on an extension program at the Blue Diamond Society on LGBTI issues especially for LBT women. Durga was serving in the Nepal Army, when she was expelled for being a lesbian. Durga started working as a LGBTI activist when she joined Blue Diamond Society. She is especially interested in social welfare, human rights and social networking.
Fatima Khanam is associated with Swaprova, a group for lesbian women in Bangladesh. Fatima is an elected local government representative from her home district in the South-West of Bangladesh.
Firdous Azim is a Professor of English who is currently chair of the Department of English and Humanities at BRAC University and a member of a research team called "Pathways of Women's Empowerment" housed in the BRAC Development Insitute (BDI) where she is researching the cultural history of women in Bangladesh. She is also a member of Naripokkho, a woman's activist group in Bangladesh. Firdous Azim has published widely both in the field of post-colonialism and literature, as well as on feminist issues. Her books include The Colonial Rise of the Novel (Routledge, 1993) and Infinite Variety: Women in Society and Literature (University Press Limited, Dhaka, 1996). She is a contributing editor for Feminist Review, for which she has just edited a special issue entitled South Asian Feminisms: Negotiating New Terrains. (March 2009).