The struggle for queer rights is hardly over. The majority of queer folks still live in countries where there are significant legal consequences for homosexuality and transgenderism. Come to this panel to listen about the state of queer rights and queer activism in three diverse countries: Montenegro, Syria, and Bangladesh. Zdravko is a Montenegrin refugee living in Canada. Ali is a lawyer in Syria. Yasin is an activist in Bangladesh. Prince Manvendra from India will moderate the discussion. Come to listen to their stories. The panel is followed by a Q&A session.
Zdravko (he/him) was born in Montenegro and came out as the first out gay man in the country’s history. Not long after, he managed to open the first LGBTIQ2+ Shelter in the Balkan Region, and organized the first-ever Pride Parade in Montenegro. After becoming a protected person in Canada, Zdravko continues to closely work with LGBTIQ2+ Refugees by volunteering with Rainbow Refugee – Vancouver. Recently, Zdravko also started his YouTube channel - making videos to provide information to help LGBTIQ2+ Refugees who are seeking protection inside or outside Canada.
Amer (he/him) is a queer activist and feminist. He moved to the UK two years ago to do master's in Gender and Media at the University of Sussex. He is currently a refugee living in London. Amer writes for an Arabic online platform that focuses on gender and sexuality, and he is an online activist. Back in Syria, he worked with displaced women who were subject to domestic abuse. In Brighton, UK, he worked with queer Syrian refugees.
Yasin (he/him) is a Bangladeshi LGBTQI+ rights activist, human rights activist, blogger, organizer, youth LGBTQI+ community leader and social worker. He founded an organization called Noboprobhaat in 2018 with marginal youth in the LGBTQI+ community. Noboprobhaat works to establish the rights of the LGBTQI+ community. Working for the rights of the LGBTQI+ community in Bangladesh's conservative society is a big challenge. Yet he and his organization continue to work on overcoming all adversities.
Manvendra Singh Gohil is the Crown Prince of Rajpipla in India and the 39th direct descendant of the 650 year old Gohil Dynasty in western India. He is the first member of the royal family in the world to openly come out as gay. He is the Chairman and co-founder of Lakshya Trust, the first non profit organisation in Gujarat State of India working for the empowerment of LGBT community. He was also the founder member of Asia Pacific Coalition of Male Sexual Health representing India as a Committee member from 2006 to 2010. He is currently the Ambassador Consultant for AIDS Healthcare Foundation for India which is the world’s largest and oldest non profit organisation working for HIV testing and treatment.
He did a certified 7 months residential teachers training course as a Yoga Teacher in 1992-93 from the Worlds, oldest Institute, called The Yoga Institute in Mumbai founded in 1918. With the help of the Institute he founded the first Yoga Centre in Rajpipla in 1995. Since then through Lakshya Trust, he has conducted several yoga workshops not just all over India but also in the USA (including Fire Islands, near New York). He was the first person to start Yoga for Police and Government Department. He was also appointed by the Forest Department to teach Yoga to the students of Forest College in Rajpipla. He has been invited by several schools, colleges, Rotary clubs, senior citizen organisations, etc to conduct workshops. He has been regularly teaching Yoga to the Visually Impaired in the National Association of the Blind in Mumbai. He developed a 2 days certified residential course for students of a computer hardware institute and has taught more than 1000 students. He has also taught Yoga to HIV positive persons, Transgenders, other sexual minority communities. He developed a 7 days residential course for senior executives of Corporates focusing on stress management. He has used his mastery as a trained musician of Indian classical music to play Live musical instruments for students to make them experience relaxing yoga techniques based on sound. His Yoga activities have been featured in documentary films, one of them called him “The People’s Prince”.