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Open letter to Dr. Raju, General Secretary, Indian Psychiatric Society

February 5, 2014

Dr N N Raju
Professor and Medical Superintendent
Government Hospital for Mental Care (GHMC)
Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

Dear Dr. Raju,

First, our hearty congratulations on your becoming the first psychiatrist from Andhra Pradesh to be  elected General Secretary of the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS).

We read the recent interview “Looking into minds wired differently” in the Times of India [Sulogna Mehta, TNN Feb 3, 2014], in which you have stated:

“Homosexuality is a grey area, entailing confusion and complexity, and black and white comments can’t be made on it. Globally doctors are divided on whether to label it normal or a deviation from the norm as genetics, environment and peer pressure contribute to it. However, homosexuals are not criminals, even though legally or morally they are considered wrongdoers. As of now, the IPS, consisting of around 5,000 registered psychiatrists, is working on finding out the majority opinion among psychiatrists regarding the classification and management of homosexuality.”

Respected Sir, we draw your attention to the fact that the Indian Psychiatric Society, of which you are now the General Secretary, has published not one but two editorials [2012, 2014] in its official journal IJP, confirming that homosexuality is a normal variation of human sexuality, and citing primary research that demonstrates that “people with homosexual orientation [do] not have any objective psychological dysfunction or impairments in judgment, stability and vocational capabilities”. In writing this, IPS has echoed the position of the World Health Organisation, World Psychiatric Association and psychiatric associations in a number of countries.

Homosexuality is not a disease to be “classified and managed”, as you appear to have suggested. The ignorance of psychiatrists on this issue, on the other hand, may well be.

We hope that you, in your capacity as General Secretary of IPS, will push for a public position statement by the Society that homosexuality is not a mental disorder, such as the one recently issued by LPS. Such a statement would not be contingent on “majority opinion” of the members as though they were voting on a logo design, but on the Society’s acknowledgment and endorsement of scientific consensus, dating back to 1973.

We further ask that the IPS issue a general directive to its members to cease attempts to “manage” homosexuality through practices as ECT and aversion therapy.

We remain optimistic of your and IPS’ timely attention and response in this matter.

Sincerely yours,

Orinam team, Chennai
orinamwebber@gmail.com

p.s.  Please refer to the open letter signed by healthcare professionals in India, calling for greater sensitivity and non-judgmental approaches on the part of the medical establishment towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

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  1. Thank you Orinam for this letter. It is important that professionals express scientific opinion rather than their personal views, especially when such views can damage lives.

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