In Nepal, Sunil Pant started a small group to defend the health and sexual rights of men who have sex with men, and metis, a Nepali term for transgender people. He found that more than HIV and STDS endangered them, though. Police patrolled cruising areas and raided private rooms to torture and brutalize "effeminate" people they despised.
Things worsened after a 2006 coup made it open season for men in uniform to terrorize anyone "different." Despite threats and abuse, Pant and his organization kept fighting. They built alliances with human rights groups and drew international attention to the crisis. They brought a case to the country's Supreme Court that, in an earthshaking 2007 ruling, mandated full equality for LGBT people across Nepal. And when democracy returned, Sunil Pant was elected to Nepal's Parliament-the first openly gay lawmaker in South Asia.
Sunil's campaigning for the rights of Nepal's sexual minorities continues with the announcement this week that he'll host a weekly TV show on youth and LGBTI issues, the first of its kind in Nepal. That and the fact that with Sunil's support, Kathmandu will host its first gay wedding.
There's a nice article on Sunil's work over at Fast Company.