In the same (I quarter, 2012) issue of Indian Journal of Psychiatry as the editorial by Drs. Rao and Jacob titled ‘Homosexuality and India’ – the closest the Indian Psychiatric Society has come to an official progressive stand on homosexuality – is an article by Dr Gurvinder Kalra from the Department of Psychiatry, Lokmanya Tilak Medical College and Sion General Hospital, Mumbai. Dr. Kalra provides guidance to psychiatrists who are encountering clients from the LGBT community in the wake of Delhi High Court’s 377 decision decriminalizing consensual same-sex behavior among adults.
Dr. Kalra echoes the Rao-Jacob editorial in calling on psychiatrists not to continue with the unethical practice of aversion therapy, and provides a simple flow chart illustrating how a psychiatrist should support a client who is lesbian, gay, bi or trans*. He asks the doctor to assess whether the client has any accompanying (“co-morbid”) conditions needing psychiatric intervention, and provide those if needed. If there are no such conditions, he asks the doctor to facilitate the client’s journey towards self-acceptance, help him/her address internalized homophobia, provide referrals to local support groups, and assist her/him in coming out to immediate and extended family.
While similar points have been made previously in public forums by other psychiatrists such as Dr. Shekhar Seshadri from Bangalore, Dr. Suresh Kumar from Chennai, and Dr. Raman from Mumbai, having such an article published in the official journal of the Indian Psychiatric Society is laudable.
Read Dr. Kalra’s article here.
We, as members of the LGBT communities, can do our bit through
- providing structured voluntary assistance such as support groups
- letting psychiatrists in our towns know about LGBT resources available
- reaching out with peer support to individuals trying to deal with coming out issues.
There are LGBT groups and mailing lists in many Indian cities. Additionally, online resources may be found at websites such as Orinam and GayBombay. If you would like to contribute to our coming out resources, please let us know.
Thanks to Sandeep for letting us know of this journal article.