The third edition of the Indian LGBT Youth Leadership Summit was organized in Mumbai over two days – 4th and 5th of June – by Mission for Indian Gay and Lesbian Empowerment (MINGLE) in association with Love Matters and with the support of Godrej, Barclays, Fondation de France, Humsafar Trust, RNW Media, Rainbow Solidarite, Pink Pages magazine and Gay Bombay. On day one, the summit was hosted by the Godrej Industries group at its sprawling new headquarters in Mumbai- Godrej One. On day two, the summit was held at The Lalit.
The objective of the summit, which is an annual event, is to identify potential leaders among LGBT Indian youth and groom them for future leadership roles. More than two hundred and fifty young LGBT people between the ages 18 and 28 had applied, among whom 35 were selected based on their leadership potential and willingness to engage on LGBT issues. The participants were a diverse group of men, women and transgender persons from various professional, educational and cultural backgrounds – coming from many Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru among others. This year, the summit also saw participation of delegates from Sri Lanka and Nepal. The theme for the summit this year was “Coming out and coming together” with a focus on workplace inclusion.
The summit helped the youth leaders introspect on their personal challenges and becoming better leaders in general. “The workshops and the sessions during the two-day summit were reflective and made me think about the choices I would make. It also taught me that whatever challenges I am facing right now, the answers often lie within,” said Pracheta Mehta from Mumbai.
Saranga Wijerathna from Colombo said, “I was glad I got a chance to interact with LGBT youth leaders in India. Now I will be able to take back my experiences to Sri Lanka and help make progress through some of these methods and techniques.”
Rohit Bairagi from Gurgaon said, “The summit was both fun and enlightening. I will take back the learnings and implement them in my own initiatives like starting an employee resource group in my company American Express.”