GAY & LESBIAN VAISHNAVA ASSOCIATION
Information & Support for LGBTI Vaishnavas & Hindus
Welcome to GALVA-108!
This website is provided by the Gay & Lesbian Vaishnava Association, a nonprofit religious organization offering positive information and support to LGBTI Vaishnavas and Hindus, their friends, and other interested persons.
GALVA-108 is an international organization dedicated to the teachings of Lord Caitanya, the importance of all-inclusiveness within His mission, and the Vedic concept of a natural third gender. Its purpose is to help educate Vaishnavas, Hindus and the public in general about the “third sex” as described in Vedic literatures. This knowledge will help correct many of the misconceptions people hold today concerning LGBTI people--lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders and the intersexed. In addition, GALVA-108 hopes to provide a friendly and positive-oriented place where third-gender devotees and guests can associate together, discuss issues, address problems, encourage one another to learn more about Krsna consciousness and advance in spiritual life.
GALVA-108 is mostly a cyber-organization with few if any offices or centers. It is nonsectarian and encourages members to attend their local temples, devotional programs and gatherings for spiritual inspiration and service. Most of our members are from ISKCON or other Gaudiya Vaishnava groups but all stripes of Vaishnavas and Hindus are welcome. We have been online since 2001 with members all over the world but especially in North America, India, Europe, English-speaking countries and Latin America. Please feel free to browse our website and learn more about the traditional Hindu/Vedic approach to people of the third sex.
Hare Krishna and Namaste!
A Brief History of GALVA-108
GALVA-108 was founded on May 8, 2001, by Amara Das Wilhelm, a disciple of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In the late 1990s, Amara Das heard many negative statements about LGBTI people from his Godbrothers and sisters, as well as many gross misunderstandings. Consequently he decided to research the matter thoroughly and discover exactly what the Vedic literatures had to say. What he found out amazed him and was a much more accurate and positive portrayal of LGBTI people--the "third sex."
Amara Das composed his original research into a 22-page article titled "Tritiya-Prakriti: People of the Third Sex." He mailed the article to every major ISKCON (Hare Krishna) center in the world and also placed it on a Yahoo! website that went online May 8, 2001. Along with the website, Amara Das added a link to an unused LGBT Hindu e-group run by Temenos. The very next day, new members began contacting Amara Das through the e-group. These were some of the earliest members such as Bhakta Alberto (Gopa Kumar Das), Mark Miles (Rama Keshava Das) and Mitravinda Dasi. The e-group soon became very lively and was later moved to Yahoo! The discussions were helpful and even some straight allies joined in. GALVA-108 aligned with the Vaishnava website CHAKRA and many favorable articles were posted there as well as on VNN, Harmonist and other websites. GALVA-108 soon became well-known within ISKCON due to the lively internet discussions and debate.
In October 2002, GALVA-108 was officially incorporated as an international nonprofit religious organization. The four original members were Amara Das and the three members mentioned above. In May 2004, the GALVA research was first printed in book form and the original article comprised the first chapter. The book was periodically updated to include new research and an abridged version of the now voluminous book was first published in 2010. The GALVA-108 book continues to be well appreciated up to this day with steady sales. It remains the only book covering LGBTI issues from a positive Vaishnava perspective.
In 2009, GALVA-108 established a page on Facebook and the discussion group was soon moved there. In 2014 the main GALVA website was redesigned and moved from Yahoo! to Wix.com. We continue our mission to provide information and support to LGBTI Vaishnavas and Hindus up to this day and hopefully for many more years to come!
Purposes of Incorporation
The purposes for which the GALVA-108 corporation is organized are:
1. To inform and educate all people about the Vedic concept of a natural third sex or gender known as tritiya-prakriti.
2. To inspire and encourage people of this third gender (i.e. gay males, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, the intersexed, etc.) to study, follow and embrace the Gaudiya Vaishnava teachings of Lord Caitanya as enunciated by the six Goswamis.
3. To promote the spirit and practice of all-inclusiveness within each and every Gaudiya Vaishnava mission, so that all people are genuinely welcome to visit, participate in, and join Lord Caitanya’s movement regardless of sex, gender, race, class, position, etc.
4. To open up dialog and improve relations between third-gender Vaishnavas and their heterosexual peers, and to identify and correct any instances of discrimination or unfair treatment towards the former within any Gaudiya Vaishnava mission.
5. To encourage and provide communication, contact, support, association, friendship, fellowship, etc. among third-gender Vaishnavas.
6. To spread and to share Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana movement with everyone, and especially in regard to other third-gender communities, through the public chanting of “Hare Krishna,” distributing literature, books and prasada (sanctified foodstuffs), establishing centers, temples, etc.
7. To offer practical guidance and help concerning celibacy, householder life and it’s third-gender equivalent, physical and mental health, and other issues relevant to the gay, lesbian and third-gender devotee community.