Brief Profile on Anandam

Andandam is an Indian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Kothi and Hijra (LGBTKH) organization that fights for a process of social and political change to enhance the rights, dignity and quality of life of LGBTKH people in Kolkata. We are a grassroots, community-led organization that works from an anti-violence framework. Anandam believes that violence is a multifaceted issue in or community and can manifest as economic, physical, sexual, emotional, social and state violence. We believe strongly in upholding human rights for all and ending state violence--including India’s  Anti-sodomy law, Penal Code 377.

What Makes Anandam Unique: Anandam is led by and serves the most marginalized members of Kolkata’s queer population. We often struggle with compounded discrimination due to homophobia, transphobia, social isolation and poverty and are often viewed as the “minority of minorities”. Through awareness campaigns, institutional training programs, protest, and LGBTKH movement building from the ground up, we ultimately hope to create a more tolerant and accepting social and political environment for LGBTKH people in India. We believe deeply in movement building through collectivism, self-determination and self-advocacy but we need your help to get resources to our underserved community!

Anandam is located in Sonagachi which is one of India’s largest red light districts. Much of the population we serve are low income men, women and transgendered individuals who have been disowned by their families and cannot find work due to their gender presentation and sexuality. Because of this, many members engage the sex industry and other street economies for survival. Due to the criminalization of both sex work and sodomy in India our members often face the worst forms of state, social, economic, emotional, physical and sexual violence.

Impact of Your Donation: Anandam has big plans for our future. Currently we are based out of a small shared office in our mother organization Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee and possess few resources to serve the tremendous needs of our community. One of our major goals is to acquire a larger office space where we can conduct our organizing work, hold meetings and have an open “drop in center”. Having a space where members can come to be accepted in their genuine gender and sexual expression is critical for effective organizing, and will also serve as the hub of Anandam’s work around social awareness campaigns, political organizing, leadership trainings and other activities. Funds raised will not only go towards overhead but will be directly used for future programming. A permanent LGBTKH drop in center in Sonigochi is critical. Currently no other LGBTKH organization in Kolkata offers a non-judgmental drop-in center for low-income and sex working community members. 

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