Ashok Row Kavi was born in 1947 and began his career training as an engineer. After dropping out of engineering school and struggling with his sexuality, he enrolled as a Hindu monk in the Ramakrishna Mission. However, he later left the monastery after a senior monk had encouraged him to explore his sexuality.
Ashok became a journalist and set up the Humsafar Trust, an LGBT rights and health services NGO. The trust runs community outreach groups and carries out gender and sexuality research. It also hosts a number of intervention programmes (funded by national and international organisations and private donors) for HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections in Mumbai and Goa.
Ashok regularly contributes to magazines, newspapers and journals across the global on the subjects of homosexuality, LGBT rights and HIV/AIDS. He was listed as one of India’s Seven Most Influential Gay & Lesbian individuals by Pink Pages magazine.
Originally published in Vada Magazine. Republished with permission.