An alumna of SIT’s MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management program, Anjali Gopalan, was recently recognized in Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.”
Gopalan, 54, has worked to advance the rights of gays and transgendered individuals in India with the Naz Foundation, a New Delhi-based NGO working on HIV/AIDS and sexual health. Gopalan successfully petitioned the courts to eliminate a British-era law against sodomy. She also runs a home for HIV-positive orphans.
Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, writes in Time, “I met Gopalan in 1995, when I was researching a new disease whose name was spoken only in whispers in India. At the time, doctors and nurses in some Delhi hospitals would not touch people infected with HIV. Gopalan not only touched them; she took them into her home and danced with them. She escorted me to the hidden places where gays and lesbians met: in Nehru Park on Sunday evenings and at a party where men arrived garbed as Bollywood heroines from the 1950s and ’60s. It was a threatened world, and Gopalan had returned home from Brooklyn to protect it. Gopalan has brought about a revolution in the status of sexual minorities in India — and has done so joyously, dancing.”