It is 2017, and societies around the world are still far from unconditionally accepting all identities and sexualities. And thus, in the face of rampant homophobia and the absence of a state-sponsored support system, social and non-governmental organisations assume great importance in bridging the gap between what-is and what is needed. Here, Gaysi takes a look at some Indian NGOs/support groups working with lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LBT) communities.
A lot of these organisations offer professional counselling, family counselling and helpline services. A few others provide emergency shelters, reproductive health advice, medical aid, and legal support to queer women and transgender people assigned female at birth. Yet others offer safe spaces for conversations, networking and sports. Take a look.
Sangini India (New Delhi)
Sangini (India) Trust is a New Delhi-based NGO working for women attracted to women and individuals dealing with issues around their gender identity (F to M). Set up in 1997, under the umbrella of The Naz Foundation (India) Trust, it is the the oldest LBT (Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender assigned female at birth) counseling and community support service in India. It provides counselling and both online and offline community support services.
TARSHI (New Delhi)
TARSHI (Talking About Reproductive and Sexual Health Issues) is a registered NGO based in New Delhi, India founded in 1996 and registered under the Societies Registration Act in 1997. It supports and enables people’s control and agency over their sexual and reproductive health and well-being through information dissemination, knowledge and perspective building. The organisation aims to provide inclusive, audience-oriented, easy to understand information to its audience. To know more about their work, please follow this link.
Nirantar (New Delhi)
Nirantar believes in enabling empowerment through education, and shaping educational processes from a critical, feminist perspective. They promote transformatory formal and non-formal learning processes which enable girls and women from marginalised communities to better understand and address their realities.
Treating gender is an identity — a way of being and seeing that includes other social dimensions, particularly those of caste, sexuality, religion, class and ethnicity – the group aims to develop feminist leadership at the community level. It undertakes research and advocacy, and has been actively involved with the women’s movement and other democratic rights movements since its inception in 1993.
Enabling access to information, promoting literacy: Information is power, a power that women from marginalised communities are largely denied. Nirantar attempts to enable access to knowledge – both the creation and consumption of it — in ways that demystifies information and makes literacy available to women, especially those from marginalised communities. Nirantar believes that education should connect with these women’s lived realities, enabling them to take control of their lives by developing and sustaining skills of critical reflection.
Taking a feminist approach to learning and education, Nirantar believes that structured teaching-learning spaces – both formal and non-formal – are vital arenas through which gender equality can be promoted.
A positive and political approach to sexuality: The group’s approach seeks to understand sexuality beyond sexual violence to the exploration and expression of desires: a critical and political perspective that seeks to build an in-depth understanding of sexual and gender norms and how and why they impact our lived realities
Services provided: Nirantar follows a non-discrimination policy when it comes to hiring and employ queer women. Additionally, through their work, they have also begun to engage with trans-women in literacy programmes and are currently developing an adult literacy programme for trans-women.
Second Floor, B-64, Sarvodaya Enclave, New Delhi -110017
Phone: +91 11 26966334
Nazariya: A Queer Feminist Resource Group (New Delhi)
Nazariya is a Delhi-based queer feminist resource group working on issues of gender and sexuality with a focus on lesbian, bisexual, queer, genderqueer, nonbinary people assigned gender female at birth, and transmen.
Services provided: They run a helpline and also do face to face peer counseling. The timings are from 11am to 6 pm (Monday to Friday). Apart from this, we have a support group for working class LBT people.
Sappho for Equality (Kolkata)
Established in 2003, Sappho for Equality is eastern India’s only organisation working for the rights of sexually marginalized women and female-to-male transpersons. The organisation works with a goal to create a society free of sexuality-based discriminations, where the rights of the sexual minorities will be ensured.
Psychiatric and Peer Counselling Services
Digital Archive Accessing Facilities
Research and Internship Facilities
Psychiatric counselling: Professional psychiatric counselling is provided by psychiatrists and counsellors at Chetana Sexuality Resource Centre. The counselling service is a support for LGBTQ individuals and their family and friends. Appointments can be made through their helpline or landline phone (see below).
Peer counselling: This provides new community persons with an opportunity to freely interact with other members of the LGBTQ community. It is a process of mingling through which a newcomer might feel more included, safe and comfortable in Sappho’s community space. Appointments can be made through their helpline or landline phone.
Helpline Service: The organisation runs a helpline for anyone who needs information and/or tele-counselling. The helpline was started even before the organisation was registered in 2003, and tends to calls from different parts of the country, and even around the globe. It is one of the most called sexuality help-lines in India. The helpline no is +91 9831518320 and is functional every day from 12 to 8 pm, except on Mondays.
Drop-in facility: The Chetana Resource Centre acts as the drop-in centre for members and new community persons who want to discuss their concerns or get introduced to the organisation. The Centre acts as a refuge for any community member in need of psychological or emotional support, safety, conversations, networking, and engaging in ‘adda’.
Library Facilities: Chetana, our Sexuality Resource Centre Library, with a reading room and reprographic facility, contains a body of unique and rare collection of books, and national and international films on gender and sexuality. The library is frequented by researchers, students and interested persons.
Digital Archive Accessing Facilities: The Chetana Resource Centre also maintains a digital archive called SapphoDALIL (Sappho Digital Archive for LGBTIQ Information and Learning), which collects, preserves and shares herstory and history of sexuality rights movements focusing on the 18 long years of Sappho for Equality’s activism in eastern India. It also documents and proclaims Sappho’s current trajectory.
Research and Internship Facilities: Since its inception, Sappho for Equality has been actively involved in academic discourses on gender and sexuality, and also offers internship and research opportunities. These opportunities are availed by students and research scholars from various colleges and universities. Researchers, students and trainees are guided by experts. Sappho for Equality does not provide any financial assistance for this internship.
Sappho for Equality
Chetana Resource Centre
21, Jogendra Garden (South)
Ground Floor, (Near Hindol Park),
Kolkata – 700 078
Phone: +91 33 2441 9995 (12 pm – 8 pm except Mondays)
Helpline: +91 98315 18320 (12 pm – 8 pm except Mondays)
Facebook Profile: SapphoForEquality
The collective aims to work towards ending capitalist brahminical heteronormative patriarchies in multiple ways.
Services offered: By virtue of being a LBT collective, we don’t really see ourselves a women’s space only. Our membership includes queer women, transmen, transwomen, genderqueer folx, and non-binary persons. We extend our services/support, as well as membership, to all queer feminist LBT persons irrespective of the gender assigned to them at birth. To put it simply, everyone is welcome at LABIA (except cis-het women and cis men)!
LABIA runs a phone line for LBT people to connect, talk about their concerns, and start the process of breaking out of the isolation that being queer often entails upon us even today. The phone line can be accessed at 9833278171 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays between 5:00 PM and 8:00 PM.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Facebook Profiles: SCRIPTS-338019985414
Phone: +91 9833278171
The collective’s work is focused on identifying and fulfilling the needs of LBT communities through training in areas such as proposal writing, gender and sexuality, peer-counseling, and crises management. It aspires to develop a resource center that houses effective and quality material on LBT themes.
Services offered: Umang provides safe spaces and support to LBT individuals through monthly meetings, weekly get-togethers, and other bonding events. It also aims to strengthen its base by building the capacities of its members through trainings and workshops. The group also actively counters crises and provides professional counseling services to its members. It connects with LBT persons through social media and also runs a helpline from Monday to Saturday, 10 am-8 pm.
Facebook Profiles: Umang LBT Persons, Umang LBT Support Group and DIC (Secret group), Flip Side (Secret Group), Umang LBT Facebook Page (under construction)
Phone: +91 99300 95856
Samapathik Trust (Pune)
The Trust aims to provide legal, medical, and social empowerment services to the LGBTI communities through education, training and advocacy. It offers counselling and referral services (to psychiatrists and support groups in Mumbai).
Helpline: 9763640480 (8 pm-9 pm, only on Mondays)
Sarathi Trust (Nagpur)
Sarathi Trust hopes to mainstream all sexually diversified communities in the society. They work for the overall development of “Queer” community and fight for the human and legal rights of this community.
East West Center for Counseling and Training (Chennai)
Source: East West Center for Counseling and Training
is a counselling therapy-based organisation that specialises in using ‘expressive arts therapy’ with individuals, couples, and group psychotherapy. They are an LGBTQ-friendly organisation that work with schools, colleges and corporates. The group offers individual, couple and group psychotherapy sessions for lesbian, bisexual, non-binary, and gender fluid persons; crisis counselling is also provided over Skype. They also work with families and spouses. Appointments can be made through the contact options below.
East West Center for Counseling and training
14, 2nd Avenue, Harrington road,
Phone: 9884700135 / 9884700124 / 04442080810
Orinam aims to enhance the understanding of alternate sexualities and gender identities among families, communities and society (with a geo-cultural Tamil Nadu focus) and provide a platform for creative expression, personal and social commentary by LGBTIQA+ people of Tamil origin and our allies. To know more about them, please see http://orinam.net/about/orinam-net/.
Services provided: Women contacting Orinam for peer support are referred to queer women volunteers, and/or to professional queer-friendly legal and counseling services in case of need. Orinam volunteers also maintain WhatsApp groups that serve as forums for peer support and networking: there is one for queer women, and one for trans persons in the Chennai area. Queer women are involved in Orinam’s events such as facilitating literary events, sourcing and contributing to content for the website orinam.net, curating the Chennai International Queer Film Festival (www.ciqff.org), and other social/support activities.
Queer women – both cis and trans – may contact firstname.lastname@example.org (RIOV is the lesbian/bi//queer women’s collective whose founders are also part of the Orinam volunteer team) or email@example.com.
Srishti Madurai (Madurai & Chennai)
Srishti Madurai is a student volunteer LGBTQIA+ not-for-profit, non-funded movement, that mainly works to support queer women, intersex women, women with intersex traits, transwomen, transmen, transgay, translesbian persons by offering counselling, and sometimes economic support. The group has also arranged for some shelters in Chennai and Madurai where people can stay on a temporary basis during emergencies.
24X7 Helpline for LGBTQIA+: +919092282369
Sister concern: www.transgenderindia.com
Swabhava Trust (Bangalore)
Swabhava is a charitable trust registered in Bangalore. They work to offer LGBT people and other similar gender and sexual(ity) minorities health, legal, social support. Since its inception in 1999, the Trust has counselled to hundreds of individuals as well as trained as many counsellors, doctors, lawyers, outreach workers, HIV-work NGOs, and mainstream development NGOs, among others.
Maya4Women (M4W) (Bangalore)
Maya4Women (M4W) is a non-profit, members-only community that promotes diversity by supporting the empowerment, visibility and choices of all women. From its inception in August 2009, the group has provided its members with activities that help the community collaborate in social spaces.
WHaQ! (We’re Here and Queer!): WHaQ! is a vibrant group created as a support network for our queer sisterhood. It welcomes anyone who identifies as a woman for regular meetings, formal and informal social events and activities.
Maya Outdoors: Maya Outdoors connects women who share a passion for sport and other outdoor activities. It coaches women to develop not just physically but also socially, building life skills such leadership, collaboration, competition and strategy – all while having a good time! The platform brings together women from different communities and encourages them to be sensitive to each other’s lifestyles. The activities are also open to non-members. Maya FC is a branch of Maya outdoors which conducts football coaching sessions.
Counselling: M4W also connects members who seek counselling support.
Sahayatrika provides peer support and crisis intervention to LBTQI people in or from Kerala, particularly female-born gender and sexuality minorities. They have a crisis helpline, and community meetings and conduct public programs and advocacy for queer, gender and sexuality issues. The group is currently waiting for funds so their office is closed, but is expected to re-open in two months. More information can be expected then.
Helpline number: +91-9744955866