Gopi Shankar Madurai
Youth Steering Committee representative - Asia
Gopi Shankar Madurai (ze/they) is an Indian Dharmic indigenist, equal rights activist, author and public speaker. Gopi is also the founder of Srishti Madurai LGBTQIA+ Student Volunteer Movement. Ze is rooted in the Indic traditions of spirituality from Sri Ramakrishna Math & Mission, Gopi is one of the youngest, first openly intersex and genderqueer person to contest Indian State Legislative Assembly elections from Tamil Nadu, Madurai North Constituency.
Gopi coined the regional Tamil terms for Genderqueer people and wrote Maraikkappatta Pakkangal the first book on LGBTQIA+ Gender-Variant identities in Tamil language: it is widely used as part of syllabus at various universities in Tamil Nadu and it’s the first book on LGBTQIA+ rights indexed in all national public libraries of Singapore. Ze also organized Asia’s first Genderqueer Pride Parade in 2012 and organized more than 100 seminars on SOGIESC issues which impacted more than 2 million students in India. Gopi’s work inspired the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) to direct the Government of Tamil Nadu to order a ban on sex selective surgeries on intersex children.
Gopi is one of the core committee members of Intersex Asia; it is the Asia's first collective forum for Intersex Individuals and organizations. Gopi’s constructive contributions to interfaith dialogue, international sports and women athletes, and youth issues related to SOGIESC human rights gave voice and visibility to various important cases including Justice for Santhi Soundarajan campaign. Gopi is recipient of the Commonwealth Nations Youth Worker Award 2017, was also awarded a Leadership Degree "Leading Change" exclusively for The Queen's Young Leaders from the University of Cambridge on 2017. Ze is an Alma mater of the American College in Madurai specialized in ethics, religion, philosophy, sociology, cultural anthropology, Indian constitutional law and etymology.
organisation: Srishti Madurai Educational Trust - Srishti Madurai Student Volunteer LGBTQIA+ Movement (India)