SANGRAM
Sampada Gramin Mahila Sanstha
 

Mission

People should believe that they can change things. It is not about a few activists fighting for other people’s rights. Anybody who has imbibed this understanding should be able to go and fight for their rights.

 
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“At home I have to be a man, dress like a man, and pretend to be everything that I am not. At Muskan, I can really be free to express all the things inside me that society does not want to see. Without this space I would be in a state of inner famine.” Dinesh

SANGRAM is a part of Rainbow Planet, which is a diverse coalition of progressive groups working for the rights of sexual minorities, sex workers and PLHA (People Living with HIV/AIDS) in India. The coalition made news at the World Social Forum, forcing ‘old style’ activists and trade unionists to recognize their legitimate struggle for human rights.

The campaign to establish sexuality rights is relatively new, compared to the more recognized activisms of workers, women, farmers, indigenous people or dalits. Its ‘legitimacy’ is still not accepted even as sexual dissidents try to claim a place among the communities of resistance.

More often than not, the abuse suffered by these subaltern sexual cultures has been made invisible even by the activist community, using a convoluted logic that arrogates itself the ability to calibrate pain. First comes class, then comes caste, then comes gender, ecology and so on. If there is any space left on this arc of suffering, then sexuality is included as a humble cabin boy. There is no hope of the last being the first in this inheritance of the meek.

Voices of Resistance A statement from RAINBOW PLANET

World Social Forum, Mumbai (India), 16-21 January, 2004

We believe –

That mainstream society marginalizes, stigmatizes, and creates conditions for violence against sexual ‘outlaws’ including sex workers, sexuality minorities and people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA).

That, the world over, the State and civil society working in tandem makes possible this violence which is perpetrated and legitimized by the family, State, medical establishment, media and law.

That PLHA continue to face abuse and discrimination in the health- care system by both public and private practitioners. The poor have lost hope for the basics of treatment of even secondary infections, let alone medicines for HIV itself.

In this context we demand that:

Unjust and unfair laws which stigmatize and create the conditions for violence against us be repealed, including laws against sodomy, prostitution and all laws criminalise consensual sexual activity.

Conditions for the free exercise of sexual choice be created so that we are free to determine the conditions of our sexual relationships, be it for procreation, pleasure or financial rewards.

The hegemony of the mainstream attitudes to sexuality as embodied in social practices, laws and public opinion be challenged and all of us become free to practice different relational forms outside conventional heterosexual marriage and family.

Sex work/prostitution be recognized as a viable income generation option, with men, women and transgendered people having the right to earn and live by making money from sex. We protest against a society that forces on us the violence of a judgmental attitude.

We must have the right to decide and freely express our gender expression and identity, including, transsexual, transgender, transvestites and hijras.

As India is one of the biggest producers of the drugs that have transformed the lives of people with AIDS in wealthy countries, we fight for the right of millions of PLHA from the global south who cannot access these medicines.

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