Trailblazers of acceptance
With Pride Month kicking off, CE presents heartwarming tales of NGOs unwavering dedication to empowering the LGBTQIA+ community and creating lasting changes.
HYDERABAD: The NGOs in Hyderabad championing LGBTQIA+ rights shine as beacons of hope. Their unwavering dedication fosters a society where love knows no bounds, creating a more vibrant and equal tomorrow this Pride Month (June).
Starting with a WhatsApp group and flash mob, Mobbera has laid the foundation as an unfunded NGO that works for the LGBTQIA+ community. Anil Kohli, the co-founder of Mobbera Foundation, says, “Love still exists in this world for us; we are not alone; we are all humans. And at the end of the day, we are all families, similar to the Indian context of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.”
Mobbera is made from two words: mob and era. Mob means a group of people; Era is the new generation. So a group of people with new generation kids are trying to do something better to make this society inclusive.
Mobbera Foundation is an unfunded NGO started in 2015 that primarily focuses on LGBTQIA+ rights. Mobbera provides guidance and support for queer people.
Mobbera is divided into three chapters:
The first chapter is cultural events, where we use art to reach out to the masses; we believe art is a beautiful way to express ourselves. So we provide space for queer artists to encourage their talent across Hyderabad.
The second chapter is the Benefaction Club, where we usually visit orphanages, old age homes, and HIV-affected people. We see cases where the LGBTQIA+ community usually gets abandoned by their families, they run away from their families, and we bring all of them onto a single platform to share much Love. The third Chapter is Guftgaoo, an open platform for Queer Community where we discuss same-sex marriages, on marriage equality.
Anil added that we also do a lot of sensitisation sessions in corporates like Amazon, Dell, Uber, etc.
Currently, Mobbera Foundation is also running Project Upadhi, which is a job drive extravaganza to empower the queer community by providing them jobs in 15+ corporate companies.
Anil expects a brighter future for Mobbera. He added, “Our efforts to uplift the LGBTQIA+ community and aim to expand our influence across Telangana’s districts.”
Queer Nilayam is an unfunded NGO that is a support group for the LGBTQIA+ community in Hyderabad. A few queer folks established it to provide support to the community.
Jayant Iyer, aka Jojo, one of the founders of Queer Nilayam, says, “It took me 19 years to realise that I was gay. Can’t we give the same 19 years to our parents to accept us? Shouldn’t we expect acceptance once you come out to your parents? It’s not our place to dictate their response.”
Nilayam means home in Telugu. Jojo said, “We made a home for LGBTQIA+ people.” Jojo and their queer team founded Queer Nilayam, but most founders left the city and country. Patricia and Harika Lily now manage Queer Nilayam. Queer Nilayam supports the LGBTQIA+ community in Hyderabad with events, healthcare, housing, food, jobs, and transportation. In June 2021, Queer Nilayam launched Queernama, Telangana’s first queer magazine. They also do monthly awareness programs on HIV, STDs, STI testing, breast cancer, and mental health.
Discussing the challenges, Jojo said, “We planned to organise an LGBTQIA+ blood donation drive. Initially, the blood donation form excluded homosexual individuals in same-gender relationships from donating blood. Some Hyderabad blood banks briefly introduced a revised statement allowing LGBTQIA+ individuals to donate. Unfortunately, the next day, they reverted to the old form, which still prohibited blood donation by homosexual individuals in same-gender relationships.” Jojo also talked about the importance of being an ally.
He said, “As an ally, support LGBTQIA+ individuals by being a good friend. Listen attentively if they reach out, and educate yourself on the gender spectrum using the internet. Familiarise yourself with current LGBTQIA+ issues. If you discover an LGBTQIA+ person seeking assistance, consider providing help through an organisation.”