ARAVAN – Empowering LGBTQI Community in India

An activist project initiated by K. Parthasarathy

ARAVAN has proposed to equip trainers who will be identified among the target community to disseminate information to target community members. LGBTQIs will be grouped into 40 solidarity groups at the village level with 50 members per group. Among each group the President, Treasurer, Secretary will be elected and 2 more volunteers from each group will be selected as Trainers.

Intense training programs would be provided to 200 ToTs about human rights, health, social, economic and environmental development. Follow-up activities will be organized for these 200 ToTs after the training program. During this process, the intention is to establish an ICT enabled district level resource center through which all of them will be connected. Through this series of training programs, we expect that around 2,000 LGBTQIs will become independent and they will be able to re-build their self-confidence. The ToTs will continue their services by charging a nominal fee from the users even after the culmination of the project.

Expected Project Impact:
• 40 LGBTQI village level solidarity groups formed;
• 200 ToTs (Training of Trainers) selected, trained and through them reaching out to 2,000 beneficiaries;
• Providing counseling and rehabilitation services, legal services, access to mainstream health care facilities, shelter home facility and Govt. welfare schemes;
• Dissemination of information to 2,000 beneficiaries about their rights, health, social, economic and environmental development, opportunities for higher education, acquiring skills to increase employ-ability and learning how to become entrepreneurs;
• Raising awareness about challenges facing LGBTQI to the general public through public gatherings and events.


Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu, India

Age Group

All Age Groups




I know how is to live in poverty... I know the pain of harassment, I know the pain of neglect, and I know loneliness…. These are all elements of my life but I am not afraid of them. I have not enjoyed my childhood or adolescence but I consider these years and now, as a good opportunity to learn to face the challenges, struggles and battles in my life.

In a critical situation of my life, my mother taught me to be independent and told me that poverty cannot dominate humanity. This motivated me to do something for people’s rights because I had never enjoyed my own rights.

7 years ago, during my train journey to Kanyakumari, two transgender persons were begging among the passengers. As I interacted with them, one of them started crying and told me her sad story. She said that she had been neglected by her family and relatives because she was a transgender. She had no shelter, no work or income and thus she had to beg and provide sexual services. Her sad story reminded me so much of my own experience in my childhood. I realized that LGBTQI people were not treated equally in society. I started to understand their problems and felt the need to support them. I want to ensure social justice and guarantee the life in dignity for all LGBTQI. In 2009 I was involved in a LGBTQI's project which focused on HIV/AIDS. This project did not teach about a society in which all human rights of all persons are valued and respected, and how this marginalized community can earn their independence and economic freedom. However, it gave me an opportunity to work with them and to learn about their needs. Then and there, I decide to start ARAVAN for empowering LGBTQIs in my area.


ARAVAN wants to see the world where LGBTQI people are treated with equal rights. To realize this vision ARAVAN will create an environment enabling the LGBTQI people for inclusive socio-economic and political development.

ARAVAN's mission is to establish an ICT supported system to protect the rights of LGBTQI with enhanced access to mainstream support services in Virudhunagar district of Tamilnadu, India. ARAVAN will fight for LGBTQI rights at a policy level, focusing on repealing the Indian Penal Code section 377 which criminalizes homosexuality. We will work to improve LGBTQI livelihood, to identify business opportunities and support their efforts to start enterprises. We will work to reduce health care risks and challenges – depression, suicidal rates, and HIV infection. We will work to decrease examples and rates of violence, abuse, and harassment against LGBTQI.

LGBTQI will be mobilized and organized into solidarity groups and equipped with various awareness and human rights training programs. We will set-up a district level resource center and a forum which will provide necessary support services like counseling, legal services and health care. We will establish a 24x7 support team and resource center to deal with emergencies and urgent issues such as violence.



Number of direct beneficiaries: 200 Trainer of Trainees (ToTs) selected from LGBTQI community.
Number of indirect beneficiaries: 2,000 LGBTQIs (Each ToT will cover 10 LGBTQIs, in total 200 ToTs will cover 2,000 LGBTQIs).


i. Training of 200 ToTs in 6 groups for 6 days.
ii. Review & Follow-up Training for 200 ToTs for 3 days.
iii. Training of LGBTQI members in 40 villages for creating support groups.
iv. Documentation, Monitoring and Reporting.

All Training programs venue will be local village Panchayat office building for free of cost.

The following topics will be covered during our training programs: Human Rights, Political Rights, Consumer Rights, Government Schemes, Government Departments and their Roles, Negotiating Skills, Personality Development, Organizing Skills, Public Speaking, Orientation on LGBTQI federation, Leadership Roles and Responsibilities, Orientation on Movements and Role of movements in Civil Society.





What does this project need?

  • Human resources needs: If you would like to gain experience and help empower LGBTQI community in India, please join us.
    We are in need of: master trainers, volunteers, and financial partners.
    - Master trainers are needed for organizing training for 200 people and they will be involved in conducting follow-up activities.
    - Volunteers are needed for organizing LGBTQIs and creating support groups. Further, you would be involved in conducting training to community members.
    - Financial partners are needed for financial support to execute the project activities.
  • Material resources needs: Reading materials and LCD projector.
  • Financial resources needs: We would be very grateful if you can support LGBTQI community in India. Any amount is more than welcome.
    We are in need of $6,344 (USD) for our training and running costs. If you would like to help us, we will be able to provide you with a detailed budget break-down of our costs and expenses.

How can you help this project?

Recent Story

Balammal is a transgender person who lives in a small town at Virudhunagar district.

  • She faced a lot of harassment since her childhood.
  • She was discriminated by her family members as well as the society.
  • She dropped-out from school.
  • She is involved in the sex industry and this is the only way for her to earn because she is unable to get a job due to her gender identity problem.
  • She was abused by her partners and relatives.
  • At a lowest point in her life, she tried to commit suicide. In that moment, Director of ARAVAN found her during his field work. He has provided support, guidance to Balammal and helped her to re-build her confidence and self-esteem.
  • In Virudhunagar districts there are more than 2,000 LGBTQIs living like Balammal. ARAVAN is needed for empowering LGBTQIs like her.

Aravan Balammal Case study photo