Anjali Gopalan

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Anjali Gopalan
Anjali Gopalan.jpg
Born (1957-09-01) 1 September 1957 (age 57) Chennai, India[1]
Residence New Delhi, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation LGBT rights activist,[2] executive director of The Naz Foundation (India)[3]

Anjali Gopalan About this sound pronunciation  (born 1 September 1957) is an Indian Human Rights and Animal Rights activist, founder and executive director of The Naz Foundation (India) Trust, an NGO dedicated to the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic in India mainly focused on women and children. Anjali began working on issues related to HIV/AIDS and marginalized communities in the United States. In 2012, Time placed Gopalan in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world.[4]

Early life[edit]

Anjali Gopalan was born in 1957 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Her father Group Captain Dr. KR Gopalan was an officer in the Indian Air Force and her Pakistani mother a homemaker. Anjali did her schooling in La Martiniere Lucknow. She studied in both India and the US, and her degree in political science from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, a postgraduate diploma in journalism, and a Masters in international development.

Social work[edit]

Early work[edit]

Anjali worked for nearly a decade with community-based organizations in New York where she worked for migrants from South-East Asia who lacked valid documents. She later started the Naz Foundation that changed the lives of LGBT and women's and children those who live with HIV positive. Providing direct services for HIV/AIDS and Marginalization issues. Circumstances led her to live and care HIV affected undocumented migrant labor, schoolchildren, and South Asian communities.[1][5]


When Anjali returned to India, She established Delhi’s first HIV clinic in 1994 and the Naz Foundation (India) Trust, an HIV/AIDS service organization that concentrates on prevention and care. The foundation currently works on issues of sexuality rights.


In 2000 she opened the country’s first holistic home cares for orphaned vulnerable HIV+ children and Women. She trains health professionals and care-givers to treat HIV+ children, and recognizes that existing facilities need to expand their scope to include them. She has designed a system that provides multi-faceted care to infected children, both in the home and in foster care.

Her main concern still remains in providing quality care to those living with the HIV infection, which she has done through founding and managing a care home for HIV-positive children and women. As a strong advocate for the sexual health and rights of the LGBT community, Anjali spearheaded the eight year legal battle against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). In 2001, her organization filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to decriminalize homosexuality and put an end to the archaic law under which individuals were harassed and discriminated against based on their sexual orientation. The Delhi High Court ruled in favour of Naz India in 2009 and declared Section 377 an infringement on individual rights.

Asia's first Genderqueer Pride Parade at Madurai with Anjali Gopalan

"When I started working in the 1990s on addressing rights of gay men, I never thought that I would be sitting in a place like Madurai and discussing about LGBT issues, I feel very ecstatic."[6]

— Anjali Gopalan on Alan Turing Rainbow Festival Organized by Srishti, Madurai

In 2001, Anjali was awarded the Commonwealth Award for her work with the marginalized communities. The Chennai-based Manava Seva Dharma Samvardhani presented her the Sadguru Gnanananda Award in 2003, for her work in supporting those living with HIV/AIDS. In 2005, she was nominated and short-listed for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her work to bring harmony to those whose lives have none.

In March 2007, Anjali was honored as a Woman Achiever by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, along with nine other awardees. She was felicitated by Sri Somnath Chatterjee, Speaker of the Lok Sahba, in the presence of Smt.Renuka Chowdhury, Minister of State for Women and Child Development.

In 29 July 2012, Anjali Gopalan inaugurated Alan Turing Rainbow festival and flag offed the Asia's first Genderqueer pride parade as a part of Alan Turing Rainbow festival organised by Gopi Shankar of Srishti Madurai this was the first Gay pride parade attended by Anjali.[7] From 2012 September 2, Anjali is serving as the Advisory head of the committee of Srishti Madurai[8]

In 25 October 2013 Anjali was awarded Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur `Knight in the order of the legions of Honor' which is the highest award from the France presented to her by Najat Vallaud-Belkacem Minister of Women's Rights for France. Anjali Gopalan is the first Indian Tamil woman awarded with "Legion of Honour".[9][10]

In 2014 the Limca Book of Records placed Anjali Gopalan in "People Of The Year".[11]

Recognition and reception[edit]

  • "Common Wealth Award 2001"
  • "Sadguru Gnanananda Award 2003"
  • "Became an Ashoka Fellow in 2007"
  • "Woman Achiever by the Ministry of Women and Child Development of Govt Of India -2007 "
  • "Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 2005"
  • "Chosen for the First City 19th Annual Interview in 2009"
  • "Anjali Was named one of Forbes India’s Top Influential People of 2009"
  • "Anjali's Naz Foundation was nominated for the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year Award in 2009"
  • "100 Most Influential People in the World”- TIME magazine 2012"
  • "Honorary head of the Advisory Board and the Academic Committee of the Srishti Madurai along with Dr.Bracha Ettinger"
  • "Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur `Knight in the order of the legions of Honor" The highest award from France. July 2013
  • "PEOPLE OF THE YEAR" by Limca Book of Records
  • "Received the GR8! Special Mention – Community Service award at the 12th Kelvinator GR8! Women Awards in March 2013"

Aanjali Gopalan Srishti Awards for Social Justice Journalism[edit]

The Academic committee of Srishti Madurai awards the Aanjali Gopalan(AG) Srishti Awards for Social Justice Journalism to distinguished social Journalists. The first award was received by V. Mayilvaganan and V. Narayanswamy from The Times of India for highlighting issues of genderqueer and Santhi Soundarajan.[12]


  1. ^ a b "World People's Blog". Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Activists welcome India gay ruling BBC 3 July 2009 06:55 UK
  3. ^ About Naz India Naz Foundation (India) Trust retrieved 14 May 2012
  4. ^ The 100 Most Influential People in the World: Anjali Gopalan Time Magazine 18 April 2012, retrieved 13 May 2012
  5. ^ "Anjali Gopalan - Ashoka - Innovators for the Public". Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "The Hindu : NATIONAL TAMIL NADU : Madurai comes out of the closet". Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  7. ^ "Weekend Xpress :: Trendsetter". Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Shri. Chevalier, Anjali Gopalan". Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  9. ^ "Clipping of The New Indian Express-Madurai". Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  10. ^ Press Trust of India (25 October 2013). "French award for Anjali Gopalan". Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Gopi Shankar. "Srishti Madurai". Retrieved 20 March 2015.