Equal India Alliance aims to build welcoming environments for India’s LGBT community, primarily at college campuses and in the workplace. The campus programs include workshops, seminars, discussions, movie screenings which are means to start a dialogue on LGBT issues.
The I, Ally campaign wants to make an appeal to all who are straight to speak up in support of their LGBTIQ family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances or to show ones solidarity with the community.
Tushar Malik, campaign leader: “I, Ally is primarily focused on young people in college campuses showcasing their support. Especially at residential universities in the smaller cities it’s pretty difficult for LGBT people to open up, to be confident and talk about LGBT issues. But it is happening. Also at engineering colleges for instance, where the majority of the students is male, it can be difficult for a gay volunteer to promote the project. You don’t know what kind of hostility you can expect there. However, if you live in Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore young people are pretty much open to talk about sex and sexuality, or to talk about such campaigns. Even if other people reject your lifestyle you know the law is on your side [homosexuality was decriminalized in India in 2009]. Which makes people more confident holding their partner’s hand in public. Because they know that if someone tries to interfere with their life they can say ‘What is your problem? Who says it is wrong?’. But of course you have to be aware of your rights to stand up and be confident”.
Malik will roll out the I, Ally campaign with the help of a volunteer network throughout India. “We have many applications from volunteers both gay and straight, aged 16 to 35. Young people who are still in college or graduates who say ‘Yes, I would want to make a contribution to this’. Eventually I would like to have an LGBT youth centre in Delhi or somewhere in India, because there isn’t one yet. They are collectives and NGO’s who are supportive of the community under the broader banner of hiv/aids health programs, but if you explicitly state that you’re organization aims at LGBTI community support, some people are like ‘… wait’. That’s still a bit of a problem in India. So a drop in LGBT center where people can have meetings, we can do movie screenings, where you have access to information and see a doctor or counselor is what I’m working towards. A proper Rainbow Center”.