Anjali Gopalan

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Anjali Gopalan
அஞ்சலி கோபாலன்
Anjali Gopalan.jpg
Born (1957-09-01) 1 September 1957 (age 56) Chennai, India[1]
Residence New Delhi, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation LGBT rights activist,[2] executive director of The Naz Foundation (India)[3]
Spouse(s) Unmarried

Anjali Gopalan About this sound pronunciation  (Tamil: அஞ்சலி கோபாலன்) (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 Wing commander Dr. KR Gopalan was an officer in the Indian Air Force and her Sikh 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, 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.[5][6]


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.

"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."[7]

— 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.[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 Tamil woman awarded with "Legion of Honour".[9][10]