HST Advocacy unit works at two levels. At level One, we advocate with direct Influencers such as Police, Doctors, Counselors and health providers, Lawyers, Pharmacists, Educational institutions, Job providers for employment of PLHA .At second level we work with Indirect influencers that include Municipal Corporators , Political parties, Policy makers and Press and Media
The first effort to raise visibility by The Humsafar Trust (HST) around gay issues was to bring out the gay newsletter, Bombay Dost. The first issue came out in April/May 1990 and the issues around homosexual men and women were taken to mainstream press as articles from BD were published in many regional and English language newspapers.
In 1994, the HST after being registered as a male sexual health agency organized India’s first conference of gay men on “Emerging Gay Identities in South Asia” with nearly 70 persons attended this conference at the SNDT Women’s University campus in December 1994. HST was allotted a place in the Vakola Municipal Building in November 1995 which was a direct result of advocacy with members of the municipal corporation. In the same year HST started a telephone help-line for gay men and advertised it. Alongside, it started Friday workshops gay men and MSM. This was a breakthrough as the emerging gay community rallied around this safe space.
Until 2008 HST activities largely focused on providing health services. A strong need was felt to have an advocacy unit in place. In 2008, at the SIDA RFSU project planning meet HST decided that it will ‘Strengthen Advocacy Unit’. In 2009 post Delhi High Court judgment a national consultation was called and attended by 108 LGBT leaders from across the country to develop an action plan to take the Delhi High Court Judgment forward.
By ‘visibilizing’ the issues, HST has emerged out of the darkness and silence. The next step forward is to mobilize a group representative of the sexual minority communities emerging in the city. The higher visibility has made HST ‘appear’ on the radar screens of the public health authorities in Mumbai and India.