Ashok Row Kavi is an Indian journalist and one of India's most prominent LGBTQ+ rights activists. In a journalism career spanning 18 years, he worked in various newspapers and magazines, including India's largest circulated newspaper Malayala Manorama (as Western India Bureau-Chief), The Free Press Journal, The Daily, and Indian Express. Besides, he started India’s first Playboy clone "Debonair" with his English friend Antony van Braband and worked on several prize winning stories like the Bhopal Gas Tragedy and Ambedkar’s controversial book, ‘Riddles of Rama’ In 1990, he founded Bombay Dost, India's first gay magazine. This was after attending the Fifth International AIDS Conference in Montréal in 1989. He has presented papers in over five International AIDS Conferences starting with Amsterdam and worked for five years as national program officer in UNAIDS, Delhi, where he oversaw the Strategy Plan for gay men to access public health services in The National AIDS Control Program (NACP-4).
Suhail Abbasi (Co-Founder)
Suhail Abbasi is a media professional with over 25 years of experience across print, films, television & digital platforms. He holds a Master's degree in Visual Communication from IDC, IIT Bombay. In 1990, he co-founded BOMBAY DOST - India's first registered LGBTQ+ magazine. He's also the Co-Founder & Chairperson of The Humsafar Trust. He was one of the petitioners in the fight against Sec 377. Suhail has been a mentor for budding journalists and film-makers through LIKHO - A Citizen Journalism Workshop and STUDIO DHANAK - A Screen Writing Workshop. He was also a member of the Institutional Review Board of The Humsafar Trust. Suhail also works as a 'proud and out' independent media professional. He has propagated diversity and inclusion in many corporates he has worked with. He has written & directed a short film COVER STORY which highlights the way to deal with your sexuality at workplace. Suhail is also the petitioner for Marriage Equality Rights in the Supreme Court of India, as a Chairperson of INFOSEM (Integrated Network for Sexual Minorities).
Sridhar Rangayan (Co-Founder)
Sridhar Rangayan wears many caps – of a filmmaker, writer, activist, and festival director. He has consistently strived to give a voice to social issues in India through his films, writings, and public speaking for over two decades. His award winning films The Pink Mirror, Yours Emotionally, 68 Pages, Project Bolo, Purple Skies, Breaking Free, and Evening Shadows present hard-hitting social issues with warmth, compassion, and humor; and are at the forefront of India’s emergent queer cinema movement. While The Pink Mirror was perhaps the first ever Indian LGBTQ+ film to be acquired by Netflix in 2015, Rangayan’s two other films Breaking Free and Evening Shadows continue to remain popular on Netflix. He is the Founder Festival Director of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, South Asia’s biggest LGBTQIA+ film festival and the most well known in India for the past 10 years. He is also one of the founders of The Humsafar Trust and served on its board for 19 years.