Steering Committee

Photo of Aditya Batavia

Aditya Batavia is a certified NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) master practitioner and an experienced Diversity and Inclusion professional and a board member of TWEET Foundation. He comes with the demonstrated history of working across a wide spectrum of industries such as manufacturing, construction, retail and information technology. He has a master’s degree in psychology from India and strong people management skills. He is passionate about working for the elevation of underrepresented minority communities like Persons with Disabilities, LGBTQ+ community, and working closely for the empowerment, mental health, and skill development of the transgender community. He understands the need for a support system in the Trans-community and runs a self-help support group for transmen in India, a platform where approximately 450 transmen are connected. His dream is an inclusive society where everyone is being respected and welcomed. And through his work he aims to help create an ecosystem where everyone can flourish in the way they choose to.

Photo of Shaman Gupta

Shaman Gupta is the Co-chair of TWEET Foundation (Transgender Welfare Equity and Empowerment Trust) has been working for trans rights in India for more than 5 years now. He has worked with thousands of young trans men and women across India, to provide them with legal, health, and employment support. Through TWEET he has also been able to work closely with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) and other philanthropies to launch various skill-building programs and for transmen and has also started a shelter home for trans men in Delhi. He has been awarded the Dalai Lama Fellowship for his work with the transmen community in India. Shaman believes in bringing about systemic changes by closely advocating and working with the policymakers. In his day job, Shaman works in the education sector and has led business and product strategies for multiple Ed-Tech startups. 

Photo of Raj Kanaujiya

Raj Kanaujiya has been working in the LGBTQIA+ community for 16 years. Raj is currently working with The Humsafar Trust as a Recruitment Officer under TRANScend project, supporting corporates in recruiting LGBTQ persons as part of their Diversity and Inclusion activities and inclusive hiring policies. He first started working as an Associate in-charge of Target Intervention, with Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS) and AVERT on health related issues for Men who have sex with Men (MSM) and Transgender Women (TGW). He is also the co-founder of UMANG (meaning “Joy”), an initiative of The Humsafar Trust and a support group for Lesbians, Bisexual Women and Trans-masculine person (LBT). UMANG provides leadership training for transmen and groups for empowerment in urban and rural areas. He is also a part of the crisis team and handles crisis cases, counselling, providing empowerment and support to Lesbians, Bisexual and Queer Women, Transmaculine persons. He is also the founder of Sahyog All India Transmen Sanghatana group, which works for transman empowerment and crisis support all over India. Raj is also a part of INFOSEM (Indian Network for Sexual Minorities), TWEET Foundation, and National Congress party LGBT+ Cell Maharashtra, India as a Secretary.

Photo of Vihaan Peethambar

Vihaan Peethambar is a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion professional based in Bengaluru. He is also an expert committee member in India’s first National Council for Transgender persons and was previously a member of the Ernakulam Transgender Justice Board where he worked closely with the Social Justice department to implement Kerala’s Transgender Policy. Vihaan serves on the boards of community based organizations like Queerala, an LGBTIQA+ organization and Dhwayah Transgender Arts and Charitable Society in Kerala.

Photo of Jamal Siddiqui

Jamal Siddiqui is a Tedx speaker, YouTuber, writer and Technical enthusiast. Jamal has documented his transition via YouTube. He has also written in online magazines like Feminism In India, Youth Ki Awaz, Tarshi, Gaylaxy and Gay Star. He has worked in customer relation for 3 years in the Corporate sector with Just Dial and Convergys. He has also worked as a Trainer in NIIT.  He is passionate about social issues due to which he switched to the NGO sector. He worked with ETASHA Society as a Facilitator and TWEET (Transgender Welfare Equity and Empowerment Trust) Foundation as a program manager. 

He has volunteered with Nazariya QFRG for 2 years and also he is one of the Co-Founders and core members of Transmen Collective. Being Muslim and a transman, he also works with and for Muslim transmen.

Photo of Vihaan Vee

Vihaan Vee is an Ambedkarite Queer Feminist trans man. He has been a part of anti-caste, feminist, queer and students movements for the last 9 years. He completed his graduation in Political Science from Fergusson College and his Master’s in Social Work with specialization in Women Centered Practices from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Vihaan worked in the field of gender, sexuality, and climate change through an intersectional lens.

Niyor is from the northeast (hails from Assam), is an OBC and has been living in Delhi for the past six years.  He is currently pursuing his master’s degree. He has been a contributing writer for YKA, FII and more. He has been working as a social media strategist with Transmen Collective. He has also worked on influencer marketing for quite some time. He has assisted with a report on “Understanding experiences of transgender persons under expanding militarism”, a study that was supported by Asia-Pacific Transgender Network and is currently writing a research report on masculinity among north eastern transmen and how it intersects with different spaces in Delhi, as part of a fellowship conducted by Writing Urban India. He is also working as a freelance copywriter for a company called as i-believe.


Research Team – Investigators

Photo of Madhusudana Battala

Madhusudana Battala, Ph.D., is Senior Program Officer at the Population Council office in New Delhi, India. He holds a Ph.D. and Masters in Population Studies from International Institute for Population Studies, Mumbai, India. He completed MSc. in Geography from Srikrishna Devaraya University, Anantapur. Dr. Battala has over 15 years of research experience in the fields of Family planning, gender equity, gender-based violence, reproductive health, community mobilization, and HIV. He has led the implementation of research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the National AIDS Control Organization, and has published more than 25 peer-reviewed research articles in international journals. He is well-versed in mixed methods research skills. Prior to joining the Population Council, he worked as an IT consultant for WHO-SEARO on Global Adult Tobacco Survey. He engaged in large-scale sample surveys while working at IIPS, Mumbai, where he trained himself in public health research and evaluation methods.

Photo of Dr. Venkatesan Chakrapani

Dr. Venkatesan Chakrapani, MD, PhD, is Chairperson of Centre for Sexuality and Health Research and Policy (C-SHaRP; www.c-sharp.in) in Chennai, and DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance Senior Fellow (https://www.indiaalliance.org/fellow/venkatesan-chakrapani-md-phd). For nearly two decades, his focus has been on applied and policy-oriented health research and policy issues related to sexual and gender minorities, in collaboration with those communities. His studies among sexual and gender minorities have provided evidence base on: stigma, discrimination and structural violence; barriers to HIV prevention/treatment and gender transition services; influence of sexual and gender minority stigmas on mental health, association between psychosocial problems and HIV risk, acceptability of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, presence of syndemics and effectiveness of syndemic theory-based interventions. He has published 60+ peer-reviewed research articles, five book chapters and 80+ policy/technical reports. He has conducted several training programs for healthcare providers on sexual and gender minorities (www.indianLGBThealth.info). He serves as the Chair of India’s National AIDS Control Organisation’s Technical Resource Group on transgender people. 

Photo of Dr. Carmen Logie

Carmen Logie, PhD, Canada Research Chair in Global Health Equity and Social Justice with Marginalized Populations, is an Associate Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto. Her research program advances understanding of, and develops interventions to address, stigma and other social ecological factors associated with health disparities. She is particularly interested in addressing intersectional stigma and its sexual, reproductive and mental health impacts. Her current research focuses on HIV/STI prevention, testing and care cascades in Uganda, Jamaica, and Canada with people with HIV, refugee and displaced youth, LGBT communities, and Indigenous youth.

Podcast, Everybody Hates Me: Let’s Talk About Stigma: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1024792

Photo of Dr. Sari Reisner

Sari Reisner, ScD, is Director of Transgender Research in the Section of Men’s Health, Aging and Metabolism, in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Reisner is also Director of Transgender Health Research at The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Trained as a social and psychiatric epidemiologist, his research addresses health disparities in sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations, with specialization in transgender health and in adolescent and young adult health. Dr. Reisner is an investigator of multiple LGBTQ health studies funded domestically and internationally, including a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) project to enroll and follow a cohort of 4,500 transgender patients in Boston and New York City to prospectively assess the impact of medical gender affirmation on physical and mental health outcomes. He has co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles in LGBTQ health. In 2016, he was profiled in The Lancet as a global leader in transgender health, and was honored as a member of the 2015 Trans100 List which celebrates work “by” and “for” transgender people, in recognition of his contributions in transgender health.

Photo of Dr. Ayden Scheim

Ayden Scheim, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Drexel University in Philadelphia, United States and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Western University in London, Canada. Dr. Scheim is a social epidemiologist focused on achieving health equity for communities that face stigma and discrimination. For over 15 years, he has conducted community-based research in partnership with trans communities on mental health, sexual health, and access to health care. Since 2017, he has been collaborating with trans community leaders and researchers in India to develop Our Health Matters, with funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the U.S. National Institutes of Health. He is Principal Investigator of Our Health Matters, as well as the co-Principal Investigator of Trans PULSE Canada, a national community-based research study.

Personal site: http://www.aydenscheim.com


Research Team – Assistants

Picture of Aakanshya Aryal

Aakanshya Aryal is currently pursuing an MPH with a major in Epidemiology at Drexel University. Coming from a developing country like Nepal and studying at one of the most prestigious public health schools in the US has been a great opportunity for her to learn and share knowledge and skills. In Nepal, she worked as a Research Assistant and traveled to remote areas in the country, which motivated her to contribute to the health of communities at a larger scale. She has ample experience in qualitative research and has worked as a data collector, transcriber, translator and an analyst. Aakanshya was awarded a Dornsife International Research Fellowship by the Dornsife School of Public Health. Her research interests include mental health, substance abuse, HIV, LGBT health, and urban health.

Picture of Heather Santos

Heather Santos completed her MPH in epidemiology at Drexel University. Prior to her graduate studies, she obtained a BS in Physics from Penn State, and then worked in quantitative epidemiology modeling the global burden of measles. She will begin a PhD in epidemiology in Fall 2022 and plans to pursue a research career in mental health and psychiatric epidemiology.