March 29, 2016
Director of Strategic Partnerships, HSI/India
As director of strategic partnerships at HSI/India, well-known LGBT and human rights activist Harish Iyer is responsible for making animal welfare more mainstream by aligning it with other social justice and welfare movements.
Describing his connection with the cause, Iyer says, “As a survivor of sexual abuse for the longest part of my childhood when my only comfort and support was a dog, I understand and relate to animals very closely. It breaks my heart every time I see an animal treated with indifference and cruelty. For all the unconditional affection I received from my four-legged companion during those tumultuous years, I feel this is my way of giving back to my late dog, who stood for humanity."
From women's rights to child sexual abuse and animal welfare, Iyer has prominently campaigned for many causes. He is one of the most popular and vocal opponents of recriminalisation of homosexuality in India and has held multiple events to generate awareness of LGBT rights. He is the only Indian listed in the Guardian’s World Pride Power List, a list of 100 influential LGBT persons in the world. For building a consensus against sexual abuse of women and children, Iyer earned the prestigious Energizing Bharat Award instituted by the Government of India, along with Network 18’s Zindagi Live Award. Iyer was vegetarian for a long time and is now vegan. He lives in Mumbai with his family and two adopted feline children, Shiva and Krishna.