Meet the Activist: Vikalp

Published on May 27, 2014

Join Astraea Tuesday for a conversation on community building and organizing in the LBTI community in Gujarat, India, with Maya Sharma and Indira Pathak of Vikalp.

India- Gujarat

Meet the Activist: Vikalp

Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 6:00-7:30pm

Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
116 East 16th Street, 7th Floor, NY, NY 10003
Event is wheelchair accessible.

Held as intimate gatherings at our office, Astraea’s Meet the Activist series provides a unique opportunity to learn about the work of LGBTQI activists and movements around the world.



Indira Pathak is an activist with a long history of grassroots work with marginalized communities, from forming a successful co-operative amongst the Dalit community in Dhandhuka, Ahmedabad, to taking up court battles in support of workers whose health conditions were deliberately misdiagnosed by the government. Vikalp emerged as a women’s group when Pathak and her colleagues came together to address the marginalization of women’s issues. Under her leadership, Vikalp has since become a critical space for LBTI people in Gujarat.

Maya Sharma identifies as a feminist grassroots activist. She has worked on labor and women’s rights issues. Her activism finds expression in her writings – on single women, labor rights and stories of women loving women. She also currently works with Vikalp.

Vikalp was established in 1996 and is based in Baroda. Vikalp’s programs prevent violence against women and the marginalization of women’s issues in the right wing state of Gujarat. Their programs include coordinating a community-run women’s court in Padra, where rural women serve as juries and independently settle cases of rape, widow compensation, domestic violence, property, child custody and other disputes. In 2003, they created Parma, a project that works to protect and promote the human rights of people with non-normative genders and sexualities, particularly working class queer women and trans men from urban, rural and tribal regions. Parma engages in base-building and organizing, provides crisis support and counseling to LBTI people leaving situations of family violence & forced marriage, and runs training and consultancy programs for the community and broader society. They are the only organization in the conservative state that takes up LBTI issues and one of the very few organizations in India that reaches queer women and trans men from rural & tribal communities.