Danish Sheikh - Law Was the Sphere Through Which I Broke My Silence




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Nov 16, 2015
by Heather Jaber
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Danish Sheikh - Law Was the Sphere Through Which I Broke My Silence

Danish Sheikh, advocate and researcher with the Alternative Law Forum, discusses the legal landscape of homosexuality in India, how to navigate within that context and to use the law as a tool for change.

For Danish Sheikh, being in law school meant not only a future career as a lawyer, but it also meant using the law to advocate for LGBT rights. “I feel like I came out as a gay man just before I came out as a human rights lawyer,” said Sheikh. “I feel like the two are very connected in my head."

Sheikh works at the Alternative Law Forum in Bangalore, India, conducting research and providing legal support for LGBT initiatives, including the decriminalization of homosexuality. 

At the third Salzburg Global LGBT Forum, Danish led a group discussion on battling discriminatory laws, especially within India. Participants discussed methods for making laws irrelevant, identifying conflicting laws, and including various LGBT groups within the law.

The biggest obstacle, said Sheikh, has been advocating for LGBT rights under a conservative government. One way to tackle this issue is to identify cases where the individuals from the LGBT community are being prosecuted under the law by requesting information from police stations.

“We’ve always made the case that discrimination in LGBT sphere in India is a case of persecution rather than prosecution. Now we’ve started to actively go and find instances of prosecution happening.”

To watch the full interview, check out the clip below.

The Salzburg Global program Strengthening Communities: LGBT Rights & Social Cohesion is part of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum. The list of our partners for Session 551 can be found here. For more information, please visit: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/551