In memoriam Shivananda Khan, LGBT Rights Activist

May 22, 2013

With deep sadness Hivos learned about the passing away of Shivananda Khan, founder of Naz Foundation International (NFI) and APCOM, the Asia-Pacific Coalition on male sexual health. Shiv was one of the great leaders in the fight against HIV and Aids among MSM and transgender communities. In his own charismatic and charming way, Shiv dared to talk and discuss about those subjects that were considered taboo or inappropriate in the cultural contexts he was working in: LGBT rights, sexuality, sex between men and so much more.

Shiv was a pioneer in his own way, a visionary on how equality and rights should be achieved for LGBTs and MSM and on that path he found many that were against him, tried to stop or divert him, but he tirelessly continued his battle. In later years he got the recognition he deserved, with as ultimate honour the Order of the British Empire, which he received in 2005. Shiv inspired us and found in Hivos an ally to achieve his goals, like the establishment of APCOM in 2007. In that capacity he brought governments, donors, multilateral agencies and the communities together in one coalition to stop the spread of HIV and Aids among MSM and transgenders in Asia and The Pacific. But also later, with the establishment of two regional Global Fund projects for MSM and transgenders in South Asia and Southeast Asia, Shiv played a key role.

His work and achievements were widely recognized in his last years. He was a committed and inspiring speaker in many seminars and conferences and the tribute to him and the other pioneers in Asia during the International Aids Conference in Asia in Busan, Korea in 2011 was just a little giving back compared to what he gave to the community. Until his last days he fought with donors, with community leaders, governments to convince them on how to stop HIV: more and targeted investments, community strengthening, less bureaucracy and no empty promises. Until his energy ran out and health issues became apparent and more frequent.

We will sincerely miss Shiv, but will continue our work in Asia and the Pacific in his spirit: committed, dedicated, targeted and tireless until we achieve the goal he put before us: zero new infections among MSM and transgenders. Our deepest thoughts and condolences go out to his partner, family and friends. We wish them the strength to cope with this tremendous loss.