Humsafar Trust

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Humsafar Trust is an NGO in Mumbai which promotes LGBT rights. Founded by Ashok Row Kavi in 1994, it is one of the largest and most active of such organisations in India.[1][2] It provides counselling, advocacy and healthcare to LGBT communities and has helped reduce violence, discrimination and stigma against them.[3] Humsafar Trust is the convenor member of Integrated Network for Sexual Minorities (INFOSEM).[4]


Indian writer and LGBT rights activist, Ashok Row Kavi founded Humsafar Trust after returning from Canada. At that time prejudice and conventional Indian societal values prevented MSM and transgender Indians from getting effective health services. The initial focus of Humsafar Trust was on activism for providing HIV/AIDS health services to gay men, but soon expanded to provide guidance, checkups, hospital referrals, confidential HIV testing, counseling and outreach for the complete spectrum of the LGBT community.[2]

Advocacy Initiatives[edit]

  • Humsafar Trust produced feature film 68 Pages documenting experiences of a counsellor working with marginalised communities in 2007.[5]
  • Produced Bridges of Hope - a documentary documenting voices and concerns of MSM and TG community in 2004.[6][7]
  • Produced “Yehi Hai...Right way” a condom demonstration film for MSM and Transgender.[8]
  • Humsafar Trust was the primary organiser of Project Bolo, an Indian LGBT oral history project funded by the United Nations Development Programme.[9]
  • Supported Kashish Mumbai International Film Festival in 2010[10][11]
  • First Performance of Ek Madhavbaug - Chetan Datar's poignant Marathi play about a son coming out to his mother has its first Hindi performance in 2010 by Actor Mona Ambegaonkar.[12] There has been multiple performances of this play with support of Humsafar Trust at various platforms including corporates and educational institutes.
  • Co-produced feature film “I AM OMAR” in collaboration with Anti Clock films and ONIR, a film that brings to light harassment faced by gay community[13]
  • Developed recommendation language manual for print and electronic media for correct reporting on LGBT issues - SANCHAR[14]
  • Developed Mission Azaadi Document; A reference manual to promote LGBTQH rights in India supported by International HIV AIDS Alliance[15]
  • Launched an initiative - LIKHO to nurture budding journalists and media persons in LGBTQ community. [16]
  • Humsafar Trust and Tinder joined hands to bring more gender/sexual inclusivity to the social dating platform so that LGBTQI+ community can express themselves freely.[17][18] By this initiative Tinder added 23 gender options for users. [19]

Initiatives by Humsafar Trust[edit]

Convenor Member of INFOSEM

HST is convener member of Integrated Network for Sexual Minorities (INFOSEM) the only national level network of sexual minorities that has 196 community based organisations representing Lesbian, Gay, Kothi, MSM, bisexual and Transgender communities as members.[20]

Yaariyan & Umang

HST has nurtured a support group ‘UMANG’ (Joy) for LBT persons and a youth LGBT group ‘YAARIYAN’ (Friendships). Both the groups are actively involved in engaging with young members of the community and undertake a number of community-binding and advocacy related initiatives. Yaariyan has been doing LGBTQ flashmob in Mumbai for many years.[21][22][23]


Humsafar has nurtured SANJEEVANI, a support group for people living with HIV.[24][25] Sanjeevani was established in March, 2003 and registered in March, 2010 as a CBO of men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender (TG) living with HIV. It has been a support group of over 300 individuals living with HIV.

Humsafar Connect

HST has set up CONNECT which is a National Online Resource Center that will connect LGBTQ communities worldwide.[26]


The Humsafar Trust inaugurated India’s first integrated community-based HIV treatment centre and clinic in Mumbai to provide free counselling and Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART). It has been set up with the help of Mumbai District State AIDS Control Society (MDACS) and FHI 360.[27][28] The community-based ART centre is a pilot differentiated care supported by the government of India.

This centre can now diagnose, provide the pills, carry out testing and assessment and provide counselling and ART therapy all under one roof

- Ashok Row Kavi, founder of Humsafar Trust.

The aim here is to relieve the government hospitals from the constant inflow of HIV/AIDS MSM patients.[27][29][30]


  • Humsafar Trust organises an LGBT film festival in Mumbai.[31]
  • Humsafar Trust has supported the organisation of flash mobs to protest.[32]
  • In January 2012 Humsafar Trust director Vivek Anand filed a complaint on behalf of attendees at an LGBT fundraiser which was targeted by a protester and police.[33]
  • In August 2018, Humsafar Trust, in collaboration with the canadian consulate hosted the Emerging Queer Leaders (EQueL) Summit in Mumbai.[34]
  • Publicis.Sapient in partnership with HST Launched a short film, #PeopleNotLabels to create awareness for trans people in Indian Society. [35]

Humsafar Delhi[edit]

Humsafar Trust has also started an office in the capital of India - New Delhi. It also has a drop-in centre where people can meet, engage and discuss.

“The Humsafar Trust will bring our best services in counselling, crisis management and community mobilisation to the LGBT groups in Delhi-NCR and other nearby areas. We also hope to network directly with the Parliament and the Union government on important legislation regarding sexual minorities and their problems,”

- Ashok Row Kavi, founder of Humsafar Trust.

"Humsafar's LGBTQ centre in Delhi hopes to provide not only a safer place for the community members, but also counselling and links with mental health professionals,”

- Vivek Anand, CEO of Humsafar Trust.[35][26]


  1. ^ "Humsafar Trust (HST) | Queer Ink". Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b TREAT Asia Report (March 2008). "An Interview with Ashok Row Kavi—Coming Out in India". Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  3. ^ "The Humsafar Trust – Accepting alternative sexualities |". Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  4. ^ "INFOSEM - India Network for Sexual Minorities". Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  5. ^ "The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Entertainment | Queer crash". Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  6. ^ "GuardianWitness - SRIDHAR RANGAYAN – filmmaker, festival director, activist; India". GuardianWitness. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Bridges of Hope (2008) - Full Cast and Crew |". Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  8. ^ humsafartrust (2 June 2009), Yehi Hai Right Way - Hindi, retrieved 15 May 2017
  9. ^ "Indian LGBT Oral History Project - About". Project Bolo. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  10. ^ "artsnetworkasia". Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  11. ^ Administrator. "KASHISH 2010". Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  12. ^ " - Connecting People Through News". Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  13. ^ "Vivek Anand, The Voice of I Am Omar… Biopics 5/7 - Suruchi Gupta". Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  14. ^ "LGBT community brings out media guide for improved reporting | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". dna. 8 April 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  15. ^ "A manual to support the right to love | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". dna. 14 February 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  16. ^ Admin. "India's favourite news anchor Arnab Goswami comes in support for the LGBT community. ~". Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  17. ^ Karangutkar, Suyash (11 June 2019). "By month-end, Tinder to allow users to choose sexual orientation". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  18. ^ "Love in the time of right swipe: Tinder introduces more gender options on user bios". Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  19. ^ "Embrace Everyone: Tinder India Finally Adds Transgender & 22 Other Gender Options For Users". 14 November 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  20. ^ Singh, Dasgupta, Patankar, Sinha, Suneeta, Sangita, Pallav, Minati (2012). A People Stronger: The collectivisation of MSM and TG groups in India. Sage Publication. pp. 67, 72, 73. ISBN 978-81-321-1001-9.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  21. ^ "Dialling up support for LGBTs - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Yaariyan, A Community Home For LGBTQ Youth In Mumbai". Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Events in pride calendar go down but participation up | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". dna. 24 January 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  24. ^ "Civil Society groups seek tabling of HIV/AIDS Bill in Rajya Sabha - Lawyers Collective". Lawyers Collective. 26 July 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  25. ^ " - Connecting People Through News". Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  26. ^ a b "Humsafar Dilli chali | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". dna. 9 April 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  27. ^ a b Karangutkar, Suyash (8 March 2019). "Country's first HIV treatment centre inaugurated". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  28. ^ Mar 8, Updated:; 2019; Ist, 21:52. "India's first holistic LGBTQ clinic and Antiretroviral therapy centre set up in Mumbai". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 15 June 2019.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  29. ^ "Humsafar Trust inaugurates India's first LGBTQ clinic, one-stop HIV treatment centre in Mumbai". Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  30. ^ "Richa Chadha to inaugurate India's first-ever LGBTQ art centre and medical clinic - details inside | Entertainment News". Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  31. ^ Jamkhandikar, Shilpa (20 April 2010). "Mumbai gay film fest eyes dialogue on homosexuality | Reuters". Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  32. ^ Khan, Afsha (21 January 2012). "Loud and Queer - Indian Express". Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  33. ^ Ratnam, Dhamini (15 January 2012). "'Activist' disrupts Pride fundraiser party". Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  34. ^ "Summit to empower queer leaders held in Mumbai". The Hindu. Special Correspondent. 31 August 2018. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 15 June 2019.CS1 maint: others (link)
  35. ^ a b Perappadan, Bindu Shajan. "One-stop centre for LGBT community members in Capital". The Hindu. Retrieved 20 May 2017.

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