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).
Geetanjali Misra is the co-founder and Executive Director of CREA and co-Director of the Sexuality and Rights Institute in India. She has worked at the activist, grant-making and policy levels on issues of sexuality, reproductive health, gender, human rights and violence against women. She writes on issues of sexuality, gender and rights and co-edited Sexuality, Gender and Rights: Exploring Theory and Practice in South and Southeast Asia (2005).
Gulalai Ismail is a feminist working towards the empowerment of young women in Pakistan. When she was 16 she launched "Aware Girls"; a young women led organisation working for empowering and strengthening the leadership capacity of young women by enabling them to work for social change and advocate for equal access of women to health, education, governance, political participation, and other social services. She is involved with different national and international networks in varied capacities to promote Peace, Gender Equality, and Equity. She received the Global Youth ActionNet Fellowship, 2009 and Paragon Fellowship, 2010 for her efforts to promote HIV prevention awareness among young women of rural areas.
Habiba Akter is the founder and Executive Director (HIV representative) of the Ashar Alo Society and the President of the National Network of People Living with HIV in Bangladesh (NNB+). She works towards support, empowerment and participation of PLHIV, to eliminate stigma and discrimination and to develop a strong platform for PLHIV in Bangladesh. Habiba also engages in policy making, promotes the welfare of PLHIV and leads networking efforts with national and international organisations to ensure services for PLHIV.
Hans Billimoria is a longstanding grass roots activist primarily focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention. He has served as the Programme Manager for the Deep Griha Society's HIV/AIDS interventions and was the founding member of 'Pune City Action Plan' for Injecting Drug Users and the 'Wake Up Pune' Campaign. Hans has set up the Grassrooted Trust in Sri Lanka to collaborate with positive networks and organisations focusing on key affected populations.
Hena Akter has been a sex worker and an activist since 1997. She has been involved with the Sex Workers Network of Bangladesh from its inception and is now working as the secretary of Manusher Jonno Foundation, a prominent NGO in Bangladesh. She is also involved with a feminist organisation called Durjoy Naree Shangha.
Janet Price is a feminist who is passionate about issues of sexuality, disability and social justice. She lives in England and works within the UK and internationally. She is a Trustee of Liverpool-based DaDa (Disability and Deaf Arts). DaDa addresses the lives of disabled people, through disability art, including the major performance festival, DaDaFest, last held in November 2010. Through her involvement, over the last ten years, with CREA (a global feminist human rights organisation, based in N Delhi, who work towards sexual rights for all) Janet has had the opportunity to work with international activists, both in person and through sharing in the development of a web based course, addressing ideas, advocacy and interventions to enhance sexuality and social justice for disabled people. She writes short opinion pieces for campaigning groups and co-edited Feminist Theory and the Body: A Reader (1999) with Margrit Shildrick.
Jannatul Ferdous has been working with the Disability movement in Bangladesh. As a president of the National Council of Disabled Women (NCDW), she works on the Human Rights awareness at grassroots level of Badda Union of Dhaka District. Her work focusses on disabled women, promoting their rights and providing legal support when they are victims of family and social violence. Jannatul has also directed a documentary film, "Uttoron", in which four disabled women talk about their disability and the strength they found after getting involved with the Disability movement in Bangladesh.
Jaime Chow is an epidemiologist and currently works in Canada at a local public health department. Her professional focus is addressing health inequities related to environmental and social factors. She is also a research consultant and has worked on various international health projects related to sexual health and infectious diseases.
Jaya Sharma is one of the founder members of Nirantar, a Centre for Gender and Education based in New Delhi, India. She has been working on issues of gender and education for over twenty years, including as a researcher and trainer. As a queer, feminist activist Jaya has been actively involved in initiating and engaging with queer activist forums. Currently, Jaya is co-ordinating the Sexuality Education initiative within Nirantar. This involves research and advocacy related to young people's right to sexuality education and capacity building on issues of sexuality of community based organisations who are working with rural women from economically marginalised communities.
Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala works as Senior Programme Officer at the Women and Media Collective and as the Research Coordinator of the Women's Support Group in Sri Lanka. Her work at the WSG involves the coordination of an Asia-wide action research on violence against LBT women in Sri Lanka. She is also an avid photographer.
Jessica Horn is a women's rights activist, writer, trainer and founder of Akiiki Consulting. As a consultant and activist she has worked on initiatives around advancing sexual rights, ending violence against women, supporting women living with HIV and ensuring women's rights in post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding. Jessica currently serves on the boards of Mama Cash and Urgent Action Fund-Africa, and is an advisor to the African Leadership Centre (focusing on security and development) and the journal Development. She is a founder member of the African Feminist Forum Working Group.
Jeeja Ghosh is a disabled rights activist working with the Kolkata based NGO, the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy, as the head of Advocacy & Disability Studies. Her particular area of interest is disabled women. Jeeja was felicitated by the West Bengal Commission for Women on the occasion of International Women's Day in 2004. In 2007 she received the 'Shri N.D. Diwan Memorial Award for Outstanding Professional Services in Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities' by the National Society for Equal Opportunities of the Handicapped (NASEOH), Mumbai. In 2009 she received the 'Role Model Award for Persons with Disabilities' by the Office of the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, West Bengal.
Joya Sikder has been working with the Hijra community in Bangladesh for the last 14 years. Starting off as an individual activist, she has grown up to be a leading face of the Hijra community representing the issues affecting the Hijras. She is the founder of the Badhon Hijra Shangha, the first and the only registered organisation of the Hijras in Bangladesh. Recently, she has been awarded 'Recognition of Excellence in Leadership' for her work on HIV/AIDS and on the Hijra community by UNAIDS in Bangladesh.
Jyotsna Tamang works as a Research Associate in Center for Research on Environment, Health and Population Activities (CREHPA), Nepal. She has worked with CREHPA for the past 9 years mostly on issues related to domestic violence, adolescent health and maternal health.
Kalki Subramaniam is the Founder/Director of 'Sahodari Foundation' an organisation working for the social and economic empowerment of transgender persons. A transgender rights activist, and a transsexual woman herself, she recently launched the world's first matrimonial website for transsexual women called Thirunangai.net. Kalki is the editor of the Tamil magazine for transgender women called 'Thirunangai' and was awarded the 'Lifetime Achievement Award' in 2009 by the Lioness Club of Chennai in appreciation of her transgender rights advocacy work. She was also chosen by 'Ananda Vikatan' Tamil magazine as the 'Top Ten Nambikkaikal' (Youth hopes) for the year 2009. She is one among the three Indian women listed as Transsexual Successes in Transsexual Women's Successes Directory. She is the first transsexual woman in India to do a lead role in a mainstream Tamil movie called 'Narthaki'.
Kanchan Pamnani is a solicitor specialising in corporate, testamentary, property and disability law. Her clientele ranges from Indian multinationals and high net worth individuals to NGOs. Her advocacy work in and out of the courts for the visually challenged has been very useful for the community. She has won several awards including the National Award for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities awarded by the President of India for Outstanding performance as Role Model of the year in 2009. She is the co-founder of the Beyond Sight Foundation.
Kanwal Qayyum is Program Manager- Institutional Strengthening programme at Rutgers World Population Fund. She has been leading different projects related to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Education, and Sexual and Gender Based Violence. Kanwal has been working in the field of Public Health and Mental Health since 2000 with a special focus on RH & HIV in the last ten years.
Kaushalya Perera is a sexual rights activist working with the Women's Support Group (WSG), a support and advocacy group for lesbians, bisexual women and transgendered persons in Sri Lanka. She is a resource person on gender and sexuality for the WSG in its advocacy work in rural areas, where the group works extensively with women community leaders to change attitudes towards women's sexuality. At present, she is engaged in the WSG's efforts to build an oral history archive of Sri Lankan queer women's life histories. She is also a linguist.
Khalida Brohi is a youth activist and social entrepreneur leading the Sughar Program in Pakistan that aims at ending the custom of honour killing by promoting positive traditions and by providing socio-economic empowerment to tribal women. At the age of 22, Khalida is a dedicated entrepreneur and winner of the 'Young Champion Award' by University of Singapore, an Unreasonable Institute Fellow and the winner of the YouthActionNet fellowship award.
Kyla Pasha is a poet, journalist and occasional playwright based in Lahore, Pakistan. She is the founding Editor of Chay Magazine and an Assistant Professor of Liberal Arts at Beaconhouse National University. She is the author of High Noon and the Body, a collection of poems (2010) published by Yoda Press.
Lawrence Carter-Long has performed with Heidi Latsky Dance in GIMP since 2007. He is the founder and curator of the groundbreaking 'disTHIS! Film Series: disability through a whole new lens', which has been featured in The New York Times. As a commentator, Lawrence has appeared on the BBC, CNN, NBC's Today Show and NPR, among other regional, national and international outlets. A popular public speaker on a wide array of topics ranging from disability issues to animal advocacy to media literacy, Lawrence regularly facilitates workshops at colleges and conferences across the nation. Lawrence was awarded the 'Frieda Zames Advocacy Award' in 2009 and the Paul G. Hearne Award, which recognises emerging leaders within the national cross-disability civil rights movement, in 2010.
Laxmi Ghalan is the Director of Mitini Nepal. Mitini Nepal was established by Laxmi Ghalan and Meera Bajracharya in March 2005. Since then this organisationhas been working for the rights of sexual minorities of Nepal. They provide counselling, group support and short term loans and arrange accommodation for LBT people when they arrive in kathmandu.
Lubna Tayyab was born in a red light area in Lahore and still lives here. She has worked as General Secretary at SHEED Society since 1999. She works on prevention of STIs and HIV/AIDS among female sex workers, eunuchs and youths, education of the children of sex workers, prevention of violence against sex workers and on the rights of adolescent girls of the sex workers.
Lucky Chhetri is the Founder and Executive Director of Empowering Women of Nepal, (a local grassroots organisation that aims to empower women through adventure tourism and sports) and 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking, (a female owned company specialised in providing female guides and assistants). Ms. Chhetri is an Ashoka Fellow.
Lydia Alpizar Duran is a Costa Rican feminist activist who lives in Sao Paulo. She has been the Executive Director of the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) since 2007, and was the manager of the 'Where is the Money for Women's Rights'and 'Building Feminist Movements and Organisations' Strategic Initiatives of AWID from 2003-2006. Lydia is co-founder and advisor of ELIGE - Youth Network for Reproductive and Sexual Rights (Mexico), and she is also co-founder of the Latin American and Caribbean Youth Network for Reproductive and Sexual Rights. She is on the Board of Directors for the Global Fund for Women and is a member of the International Council on Human Rights Policy.
Maheen Sultan is Coordinator, Research Programme on Pathways of Women's Empowerment, BDI, BRAC University Bangladesh. She is a development practitioner, women's rights activist and researcher. She has worked on issues of social development, poverty, community participation and gender equality. Her current research interests include women's organising and movements and women's work and mobilising. She is also a member of Naripokkho, a women's activist organisation in Bangladesh.
Malini Chib is Senior Events Manager, Oxford Bookstore, Mumbai. She is also the Founder and Co-chairperson of the ADAPT (Able Disabled All People Together) Rights Group. She is also a freelance writer-activist and has travelled extensively in India and abroad.
Manisha Dhakal is a transgender woman activist of Nepal working in Blue Diamond Society since 2002. She is a former CCM (Country Coordinating Mechanism for Global Fund) member in Nepal, the first trans person in this position from Nepal. Manisha is also a member of APTN representing south Asia.
Manique Gunaratne works with the Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped. She is a vocal advocate for disabled women's rights and a strong leader in the disability movement in Sri Lanka.
Mashuda Khatun Shefali is the founder and Executive Director of Nari Uddug Kendra (Centre for Women's Initiatives) Bangladesh, which works to promote gender equality, human rights and personal and political empowerment of women and girls in Bangladesh. Mashuda founded NUK, which opened the first Garment Working Women's Shelter and Development Centre for 150 girls. Since then, NUK has been engaged in strengthening leadership capacity to empower elected women representatives of Municipalities and City Corporations. Mashuda sees sports as a strategy for empowering women and is known as a pioneer in Bangladesh on this issue. Her latest creation is the 'Bangladesh Women's Fund', which works on fund raising and grant making for the local women's NGOs.
Meena Seshu is the general secretary of SANGRAM, an organisation that works on the rights of sex workers and people living with HIV/AIDS. SANGRAM's Centre for Advocacy on Stigma and Marginalisation (CASAM) advocates for the reduction of stigma, violence and harassment faced by marginalised communities, especially those who have challenged dominant norms. In 2002, she was awarded the 'Human Rights Defender Award' from Human Rights Watch.
Mehwish is a sex worker associated with SHEED Society, Pakistan, which works on the rights of sex workers and children of sex workers. She works as a dancer and sex worker.
Namita Chad is a South Asian activist who has been involved in grassroots LGBT/immigrant/feminist organising in New York for more than a decade. She works at the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice as Grants Administrator and Program Officer for Astraea's Emergency and Movement Resource Funds. She currently sits on the board of the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV) and has also spent a good chunk of time as an audio/visual tech assistant, stage lighting designer, security volunteer and database nerd.
Naseema grew up in Lalten Patti, a red light district in Bihar, India.
Nicky McIntyre joined Mama Cash in June 2007 initially as the Director of Development and Communications and she has been the Executive Director of Mama Cash since May 2008. Prior to this she served for one decade as the Vice President of Development and Communications at the Global Fund for Women. Nicky McIntyre served on the Board of the Global Greengrants Foundation from 1998 to 2002. She was a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission from 2001-2004, serving as its Chair from 2002-2004. She currently serves on the Board of Gender Action.
Nayreen Daruwalla works in India on women and mental health.
Nighat Dad is a lawyer by training, a human rights activist, and currently working as Research Associate at Bytes for All, Pakistan. Bytes for All is the implementing organisation for their project titled "MDG3: Take Back the Tech! to End Violence against Women". Nighat's work addresses the continuous struggle for the cause of civil liberties, women's rights and privacy rights for women and girls in Pakistan. Nighat is involved in planning the first ever Feminist Tech Exchange for Transgender people in Pakistan. Her personal digital story is accessible at:
Nisha Susan is 31 and lives in Delhi. She is an assistant editor at Tehelka magazine. At Tehelka she reports on culture and society. She also writes fiction.
Partho Bhowmick started the Blind With Camera project in 2006 and has successfully developed the project into a national exhibition traveling across India. He is the recipient of the 'Karmaveer Purakaraar 2009', a National Award for Social Justice and Citizen Action given by the Indian Confederation of NGOs. Partho's work is exhibited at several art galleries in India. Early in 2009, he founded the Beyond Sight Foundation.
Ponni Arasu is a queer feminist activist and researcher who works on a range of issues including gender, sexuality and conflict. She has worked with CREA in New Delhi and with the Alternative Law Forum in Bangalore.
Prabha Nagaraja has been with TARSHI since its inception (1996), as a Helpline Counsellor, Programme Manager and currently as Director, Programmes. She has been involved with various aspects of the Helpline - counselling, training, recruitment, and supervision, in addition to conducting trainings on sexuality, reproductive and sexual health and rights, and developing publications for diverse audiences. She worked with children with disabilities as a service provider as well as an advocate for rights of children with disabilities prior to joining TARSHI.
Pritham K Chakravarthy is Assistant Professor of Dramaturgy and Film History at the Ramanaidu Film Institute, Hyderabad. She is an independent researcher, playwright, director, performer, film critic and activist from Chennai. She has extensive experience in the theatre and is an experienced television, film and documentary script-writer. She has recently translated two volumes of Tamil pulp fiction, a compilation of pulp stories written by Tamil authors, and published as "The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction; Vol 1 & 2". Her most recent theatrical venture is 'Jameela: An Autobiography of a Sex Worker.'
Puja Roy is Programme Officer, Resource and Grants Management, South Asia Women's Fund. SAWF is a regional women's fund that supports women's rights initiatives and promotes philanthropy towards women's rights in the region (Bangladesh, NepaI, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). She has worked extensively in South Asia since 1993, with several international aid agencies, such as Oxfam U.K., Terre des Hommes Germany and Switzerland and the Sir Dorabji Tata trust. Before joining SAWF, Puja worked as a consultant with HIVOS, CARE International,
Purnima Chatterjee is a sex worker and has been a member of the Durbar Mahila Samanvaya Committee since 2001. She has worked as a Field Branch Committee member and is presently supervisor of the Self Regulatory Board (SRB).
Raaz Husen is a transgender man working in Blue Diamond Society, Nepal since 2010, as Outreach Officer. Prior to this, he was working with the Nepal Traffic Police and was fired for being a trans person.
Radhika Chandiramani trained as a clinical psychologist at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS). Her main areas of interest are sexuality and rights. She is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship for Leadership Development and the Soros Reproductive Health and Rights Fellowship. She has co-edited Sexuality, Gender and Rights: Exploring Theory and Practice in South and Southeast Asia (Sage, 2005). Her most recent publication is Good Times for Everyone: Sexuality Questions, Feminist Answers. She founded TARSHI in 1996 and is the Executive Director.
Rajia Begum has worked as a sex worker for more than a decade now. She has been working on sex workers rights and is involved with Sex Workers Network of Bangladesh (SWNOB), the biggest network of sex workers in the country.
Ratnaboli Ray is the founder and Managing Trustee of Anjali, a Calcutta based organisation raising awareness and understanding about mental health and ushering in systemic changes in the sphere of mental health care and treatment. Ratnaboli is a Clinical Psychologist and health activist with more than 15 years of experience in this field. In 2000, Ratnaboli Ray was given the Ashoka Fellowship in recognition of Anjali's innovative work.
Renu Addlakha did her doctoral research on the psychiatric profession in India, with particular reference to the treatment of women. Her areas of specialisation include the sociology of medicine, mental illness and the psychiatric profession, anthropology of infectious diseases, bioethics and disability studies. She has published widely in both national and international journals. Her most important books include Deconstructing Mental Illness: An Ethnography Of Psychiatry Women And The Family (Zubaan Books 2008); Disability and Society: A Reader (Orient Blackswan 2009) and Contemporary Perspectives on Disability In India; Exploring The Linkages between Law, Gender and Experience ( LAP Lambert Academic Publishers 2011). She is currently researching gender and disability at the Centre for Women's Disabilities Studies.
Revati Chawla works for the United Nations Population Fund in Sri Lanka, in the areas of HIV and young people's sexual and reproductive health. Her work on HIV focuses on its prevention among sex workers and men who have sex with men including transgender populations. Revati is also a founder member of the Women's Support Group in Sri Lanka, where she continues to volunteer.
Rita Thapa founded and led Tewa (1995), the innovative Nepal Women's Fund, and Nagarik Aawaz (2001) - the citizen's voice for peace. She has over thirty years of experience as a feminist educator and community activist. Rita served on the International Committee of the Regional Center for Strategic Studies, based in Colombo, and SACEPS (South Asia Center for Policy Studies). She is a former board member and Chair of the Global Fund for Women, and was on the Executive Board of the Urgent Action Fund. She was named an Ashoka Fellow (1997-98), Dame Nita Barrow Distinguished Visitor at the University of Toronto (2002) and one of the 1000 peace women around the globe. She currently severs on the Executive Board of the South Asia Women's Fund, Global Fund for Community Foundations, and represents Tewa on the Foundations for Peace International Network.
Rituparno Ghosh the Bengali filmmaker, has in the last two decades created a striking body of work which includes films like Unishe April (19th April, 1994), Dahan (Crossfire, 1997), Bariwali (The Lady of the House, 1999), Utsab (The Festival, 2000), Titli (First Monsoon Day, 2002), Chokher Bali (A Passion Play), The Last Lear (2007), Shob Choritro Kalponik (Afterword, 2009) and Abohoman (The Eternal, 2010). Ghosh has won 10 National Awards, a host of Indian and International awards and both critical and popular acclaim. Recently, he made an acting debut in Aarekti Premer Golpo (Just Another Love Story, 2011) which has already become an iconic queer film. Rituparno's writings, public persona and his new trilogy of queer films has disrupted the dominant heteronorm of Bengali films.
Rosanna Flamer-Caldera is the Executive Director of EQUAL GROUND, Sri Lanka, the only mixed LGBTIQ organisation in Sri Lanka. She was also a founding member of the Women's Support Group. She was the Co-Secretary General of ILGA (2003 to 2008) and prior to that she was the Female Asian Representative to the Executive Board of ILGA. She is instrumental in initiating the first ever South Asian Regional Lesbian and Bisexual Womens Conference held in Colombo in 2010. She also initiated Gay Pride in Sri Lanka in 2005.
Roshan Desilva is the Executive Director / Coordinator of Diversity And Solidarity Trust ( DAST), an organisation working for the gay and transgender community in Sri Lanka, mainly focusing on rights and health and generating a safe environment for these groups. Being Gay and a well trained and experienced counsellor, Roshan has been able to support a huge number of LGBT persons in distress situations and has been actively engaged in Gay and Transgender activism for the last five years.
S. Vinita works within CREA and focuses on building feminist leadership among grassroots women's rights organisations; and managing a three year multi-pronged program that works towards ending violence against marginalised women in three countries in South Asia. She is fascinated with the ways in which language can be used to empower or discriminate against women and is working on building scholarship in Hindi on sexuality, gender and rights. Vinita has worked extensively on issues of sexuality, gender and rights. Previously, she was working with CARE India as a Field Officer in a project on sex workers' rights and HIV/AIDS.
Samina Choonara is a Research Consultant at Shirkat Gah Women's Resource Centre. She is on the Research Management Committee of the multi-country research programme consortium, 'Women's Empowerment in Muslim Contexts: gender, poverty and democratization from the inside out'. She is also an Executive Committee member of the Institute of Women's Empowerment, a non-profit organisation based in Hong Kong. She has worked with the Simorgh Resource Centre and as a writer and editor for The Herald and Oxford University Press and helped set up a research unit at the National College of Arts. Her areas of research include a wide range of gender-related issues including women's empowerment, sexuality and the dynamics of knowledge production.
Sanjana Gaind works as the Program Coordinator for Public Events at CREA. She also coordinates the Count Me In: Campaign With Me component of CREA's Count me In! initiative that builds awareness and understanding on the harmful manifestations of son preference that lead to violence against women. Prior to joining CREA, she worked on HIV and AIDS, reproductive and sexual health issues and on the rights of women in sex work. Her work on these issues has focused on developing communication and training resources and applying art forms like films and theatre for awareness, advocacy and action.
Sapna Pradhan Mallah is a Nepalese lawyer and member of the Nepalese Constituent Assembly. She is the former President and a founder member of Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD) in Nepal. In 2008, she was a joint winner of the Gruber Prize for Women's Rights.
Sarah Gill is the President of the Moorat Interactive Society and a focal point on transgender people for the Government of Pakistan. She has been the focal point for Transgender people of Pakistan for the Asia Pacific Transgender Network and for the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW). Sarah has been instrumental in launching the first phone helpline for transgender people of Pakistan. She is the Pakistan focal point for 'Youth Lead', Bangkok, and also one of the members of the youth advisory committee for the organisation. She worked with UNAIDS on an assessment of how transgender people had been affected by the flooding in Pakistan last year.
Sara Hossain is a lawyer and practices in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh in the areas of constitutional and public interest law. She is an active member of Ain o Salish Kendra, a national human rights and legal-aid organisation based in Dhaka. She is currently the Honorary Director of the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, the leading national private legal services organisation in the country. From 1997-2002, she headed the South Asia Programme at the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights (INTERIGHTS). She has written and lectured widely on human rights law, public interest law, access to justice and women's rights within marriage.
Sarah Hawkes is Reader in Global Health at University College London, where she leads a theme on the use of evidence in policy making. Sara is clinically trained in infectious disease. Her focus has been in the field of sexual health in general and sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) in particular. She has undertaken research in this area since 1991, and has spent many years living and working in South Asia.
Sarah Suhail is a feminist legal activist and researcher on issues that concern queer sexualities in Pakistan. She is also the Editor at large for Chay magazine. She works as an attorney in Pakistan for the Organisation for the Protection of Rights of Sexual Minorities, an organisation that provides support for non-heteronormative individuals.
Satya Rai Nagpaul is a Trans man and gender activist who divides his working life between activism, cinematography and running a home. In the mid-90s, he started SAMPOORNA, a network of Trans Indians. Membership of the group is open to the whole spectrum of Trans* [*Transgender, Transsexual, Intersexxed & Gender Variant] persons.
Shabana Kazi 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.
Shahinur Akter worked as a commercial sex worker for 10 years, and is now employed with a sex-workers' organisation in Dhaka. She initiated and organised 'Shomoy Shangha'- a lesbian female sex workers forum in Dhaka. She lives with her female partner.
Shakhawat Hossain Rajeeb has been working with LGBT issues for the last 8 years with Boys of Bangladesh (BoB), the oldest and the largest organisation of self-identified Bangladeshi gay men. He has been actively participating in local and international conferences, workshops and trainings. He is also the coordinator of Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, a coalition of LGBT organisations in Bangladesh.
Shermal Wijewardene teaches English Literature at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Her research interests include South Asian queer fiction and South Asian lesbian activism. She has been a volunteer member of the Women's Support Group since the group's inception.
Shilpa Phadke is Assistant Professor at the Centre for Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social sciences, Mumbai. She has also taught undergraduate sociology and anthropology at St Xavier's College, Mumbai. As a pedagogue, she has designed and coordinated several discussion groups, a lecture series and workshops. Shilpa Phadke has published academically in journals and edited book volumes as well as in newspapers and popular magazines. Her co-authored book: 'Why Loiter? Women and Risk on Mumbai Streets' was published by Penguin, 2011. Her areas of concern include, gender and the politics of space, the middle classes, sexuality and the body, feminist politics among young women, reproductive subjectivities and pedagogic practices.
Shohini Ghosh is Dr. Zakir Hussain Professor at the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre at Jamia Millia Islamia (Central University), New Delhi and teaches Video and Television Production. Shohini co-founded Mediastorm Collective, India's first all women documentary production collective. Her first independent feature-length documentary, 'Tales of the Night Fairies' (2002), is about the struggle for sex workers' rights in Calcutta. In 2010, her book Fire, examining the controversy around the 1996 film of the same name by Deepa Mehta, was published by Arsenal Pulp Press. A media scholar, Shohini researches and writes extensively on popular culture, particularly films and queer sexuality in academic journals and the popular press.
Dr. Subhagata Ghosh has been associated with the women's rights and sexuality rights movements for more than ten years. She has co-founded Sappho for Equality, the activist forum working for the rights of sexually marginalised women. She is the editor of Swakanthey (in her own voice), the bilingual, biannual magazine of the organisation. She has also co-edited anthologies of queer women narratives Chhih ! Tumi naki"...(Shame ! Are you"...) in Bengali and Of Horizons and Beyond - Glimpses of Lesbians, Bisexual Women and Transpersons' lives. She conducted a national level qualitative research project 'Vio-Map: mapping violence and violations taking place in lives of sexually marginalised women to chart out effective advocacy strategies'.
Shruti Karki works as a Programme Manager with Jagriti Mahila Maha Sangh, a federation of female sex workers In Nepal. Her interest lies in sex workers and HIV/AIDS issues.
Sibani Giri is a sex worker and a member of Durbar Mahila Samanvaya Committee since 2000. She presently holds the post of Secretary of the Field Branch Committee. She is also a representative of the Self Regulatory Board (SRB).
Smriti Nevatia has worked as a film and theatre critic, and as film researcher, scriptwriter and co-director, recently collaborating with filmmaker Nishtha Jain on award-winning documentaries such as City of Photos, 6 Yards to Democracy and Lakshmi and Me. She has participated in conferences on media and cultural studies and queer and feminist concerns, and is co-editor of Sites and Practices: An Exercise in Cultural Pedagogy (Majlis 2006). Smriti co-curated an international queer film festival, Queer Nazariya, in 2010, and is a member of two Mumbai-based collectives LABIA (Lesbians And Bisexuals In Action) and FAOW (Forum Against Oppression Of Women).
Srilatha Batliwala is an India-based Scholar Associate with the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID). Her current work focuses on building women's movements and organisations, feminist leadership concepts and practices, and feminist monitoring and evaluation. She is Co-Chair of the Board of Just Associates and Gender at Work, and IT for Change. She has over 35 years experience as a grassroots activist, gender-equality advocate, and women's studies teacher and researcher in India and internationally. She has published extensively on a range of women's issues. Her most recent publications are Capturing Change in Women's Realities (for AWID, on feminist monitoring and evaluation, 2011), Feminist Leadership for Social Transformation (for CREA, 2010), (Changing Their World: Concepts and Practices of Women's Movements, (for AWID, 2009) and an edited volume, Transnational Civil Society: An Introduction, published by Kumarian Press (2006). She is based in Bangalore, India.
Sunil Babu Pant is an openly gay Member of Parliament in Nepal. He was the petitioner of the writ to the Supreme Court against the Government of Nepal, demanding that it defend and protect the equal rights of LGBTI people in Nepal. This resulted in the Court making the historic decision to protect and defend LGBTI rights. He is the founder and Executive Director of the Blue Diamond Society, an NGO working on Human Rights, Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS in Nepal.
Sunila Abeyasekara is a Sri Lankan activist for women's rights and human rights and the Executive Director of International Women's Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) Asia Pacific. Her focus is on minority, human, and diversity rights in conflict situations. She was one of five recipients of the UN Human Rights Prize in 1998, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She is the Director of INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She is also a member of the Women and Media Collective Sri Lanka, the Women's Support Group Sri Lanka, and the UNDP Civil Society Organisations Committee. She works as a trainer in conflict transformation, peace-building, gender, and human rights in Sri Lanka and internationally.
Sutapa Majumdar works at the Centre for Advocacy on Stigma and Marginalisation (CASAM), a project of Sampada Gramin Mahila Sanstha (SANGRAM) which is an organisation that works at the grass root level to train NGOs and GOs working on HIV/AIDS in a rural context in Maharashtra, India.
Tika Devi Dahal is the founder of Nepal Disabled Women Association (NDWA) and currently serves as the President of the organisation. NDWA is involved in Advocacy and lobbying for women with disabilities in the areas of education, health, employment, inclusion at decision-making levels and gender equity. Tika has also been volunteering with National Federation of the Disabled, Nepal since 1996. In her work on disability rights, she is associated with various associations and groups. Some of these are Women's Alliance for Peace, Power, Democracy and Constituency Assembly (WAPPDCA). Women Human Rights Defenders National Network (WHRD), Kritika Campaign (Cultural women group), South Asia Disabled Women Network and Disability National Coordination Working Committee (NCWG).
Tisa Muhaddes is the Research and Communications Officer at the James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University. She is actively involved in the Centre for Gender, Sexuality and HIV/AIDS, participating and leading various activities supporting sexuality related issues and gay rights in Bangladesh. Additionally, she was one of the lead researchers in the Bangladesh chapter of CREA's 'Violence against Marginalised Women' research project.
Umme Kulsum Ranjana is the elected President of Protibondhi Narider Jatio Parishad (National Council of Disabled Women-NCDW) a nation-wide network of organisations working with women with disabilities in Bangladesh. It has emerged as a platform to end discrimination and injustice against women with disabilities under her leadership. Once women with disabilities formed independent groups she found that women are more vocal and open to talking about their experiences of abuse. Currently she has mobilised 10,000 women with disabilities in 23 districts out of 64.
Vinay Kulkarni is a dermatologist by training started working on awareness programmes and treatment of PLHIV in 1996. In 1994, Vinay established the NGO Prayas in Pune which works in the areas of health, energy, learning & parenthood, and resources & livelihoods. He is the director of the health group of Prayas which works in the areas of HIV/AIDS and Sexuality. Prayas Health Group is currently caring for more than 3500 PLHIV and is implementing one of India's largest PMTCT program in the private sector.
Zaini is working for the Prevention of HIV/AIDS among Transgender people for a decade. She is the General secretary of Moorat Interactive Society and a fellow petitioner with Sarah Gill in the Court of Pakistan for Transgender people's rights. Zaini is a new member of the Asia Pacific Transgender Network. She lives with Sarah and is involved in the hard struggle for social acceptance of Transwomen.