About the Network

The SALGBT network has been operational in the region January 2014, i.e. after the close of the Project Cycle in December 2013. It has been functioning normally in spite of the fact that the funding cycle has closed. It is in regular contact with our erstwhile primary funder and supporter over the last four years, namely RFSU of Sweden. Given the fact that funds for regular project activities and no longer available, it has now become imperative that the network find new and more innovative ways of continuing with its primary objective, without having to depend to finding support. This has meant that the networker has rolled back some of the fund intensive activities that it was involved in earlier, and has focused on low cost initiatives that has high impact. For example a greater number of outreach activities with grassroots has been initiated, while fund intensive activities with grassroots, like trainings and workshops have been scaled down. The network is also started doing more macro-level activities with government and other stakeholders. This is with the intention of creating greater impact that ensures protection and promotion of LGBT right in the region, without having to a take recourse to large-scale finding. 

 

The network today is faced with many challenges. For example the Supreme Court in India has re-criminalised homosexuality by reinstating section 377 of the Indian penal code. This reverses an earlier judgement of the Delhi High Court which had de-criminalised homosexuality in India. Many of the partners have joined hands to call on the Indian government and the Supreme Court of India to reverse this judgement. It is hoped that with this advocacy work in which the partners of the network has joined hands, this effort will be successful in the long term.

 

There has been political uncertainty in Bangladesh. The network partner in Bangladesh has been affected by the same. However, in spite of this the partner in Bangladesh, Bandhu, has forged ahead with its work of promoting and protecting the rights of LGBT in Bangladesh by partnering with other organisations and becoming a lead member of the consortium that had bid for the “Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific” to be hidden in Bangladesh in two years time. It is expected that with this collaboration that the Bangladesh partner is making, it will become possible for LGBT rights to find centre stage in government policy making in Bangladesh in the future.

 

The situation in Sri Lanka had also been very difficult for LGBT rights. In spite of this Equal Grounds, the partner from Sri Lanka, has forged ahead and found innovative ways of highlighting LGBT right in the media and in other public discourses. It is also proceeding with the work of sensitising government and police officials, the judiciary, and other policy makers on the issue of these rights.

 

Under the leadership of the partner from Nepal, namely Blue Diamond Society, Nepal has made the most progress in the interim on the issue of LGBT rights. Under the guidance of the society, many transgender and queer activists have participated as candidates in the recently held elections in the country. Its advocacy work has ensured that almost all major political parties now support LGBT rights in the country. As a consequence of this, the incident of violence and discrimination against queer people in the country has gone down dramatically.

 

The network understands that the work that the partners are doing in country are significant. It would in the long run help protect and promote queer right in the region. But at the same time the network also understands that for lasting and impactful continuation of the work, it is imperative that the network gets funding soon to carry on the more fund intensive activities which are extremely necessary to sustain the gains that have been made in the last four years under RFSU/SIDA support. The acting secretariat of the network is prospecting with possible donors to get funding for the proposal that was drafted in the last meeting of the partners in Bangkok.