LGBT group sheds urban-centric image, opens office in Hingoli
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The inauguration of the office of Delight of Asia social trust, a community-based organisation (CBO) in Hingoli district of the state, may go a long way in dispelling the rather urban-centric image related with the activism of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) community. Other than being the first such CBO or group to open office in a rather backward area of the state, this trust aims to address the issues related to the community.
With a majority of gay activism in Maharashtra being centered around the urban centres of Mumbai, Pune and Thane, this CBO would have a Leviathan task before them given the magnitude of both means and scope of the work. "Many from our community are married and as such lead double lives. Also, awareness about safe sexual practices and access to proper health care is an issue. We intend to help gay men who are HIV+ and also provide them with proper and necessary healthcare," he said.
For chairman Ashoke Mande, the trust's inauguration on Wednesday marks the realisation of long years of struggle and hard work. According to him, the trust will be working to dispel the various myths associated with gay men and their lifestyle. "Our most important work would be to give a face to the community of men-having-sex-with-men (MSM), and to instill confidence among them," he said. Also, the CBO hopes to help the community with medical awareness. Those MSM who need vocational training for financial independence would also be given help.
The issue of gay identity has haunted Mande for long, who is married with a kid. "I come from a poor family and as such did not have any idea of the separate identity of MSM. During adolescent years, I was wrecked with guilt whenever I had sexual encounters with men. When I got married in 2002, I was scared whether I would be able to consummate the marriage."
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