Resources for Healthcare Professionals

Resources on LGBT healthcare issues for providers

This section contains views expressed by Indian health care professionals on LGBT issues.

Sexual Conversion Therapy is not scientific

There is no definitive evidence of the effectiveness of sexual conversion therapies. In fact, there is evidence that such attempts may cause more harm than good, including inducing depression and sexual dysfunction. With the acceptance of homosexuality as a normal variant by mainstream health professionals, there has been a reduced emphasis on using and evaluating sexual conversion therapies within medical and psychiatric circles. However, faith-based groups and counsellors pursue such attempts at conversion using yardsticks which do not meet scientific standards. Clinicians should keep the dictum “first do no harm” in mind.

– Dr. KS Jacob, Department of Psychiatry, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
(The Hindu, Chennai editorial Date: 25/07/2009)

Homosexuality is not an illness

Sadly, just as dark-skinned people are compelled to unsuccessfully spend fortunes daubing themselves with hefty quantities of fairness creams, people belonging to the LGBT community are expected to engage in expensive and sometimes degradingly painful procedures that claim to magically ‘convert’ them into becoming marriageably straight. There are a variety of such claims available in the market today, ranging from pills and potions to yoga and ‘conversion or reparative therapies’ practised by some mental health professionals. Take it from me. These cannot work. Homosexuality cannot be cured. Simply because it’s not an illness.

Dr. Vijay Nagaswami, Psychiatrist, Chennai.
(The Hindu Date: 25/6/2011)

Sexuality is not a medical aberration that can be corrected or changed

A distressed parent beseeched me, “Doctor, please counsel my son. He refuses to get married and says he is homosexual.” My advice to the parent was, “He is right. Don’t force your son.” But the parent still did not give up. “Please convert him into a heterosexual. It’s all in the mind. I am sure you can change his mind. What will I tell society? They will not accept us.” Despite the many concerns, I insisted that nothing could be done. The fact is that homosexuality is not in the mind. Nobody knows what makes a person heterosexual or homosexual. Over the years, four causative theories were proposed — the Genetic Theory, the Hormonal Theory, the Psychoanalytic Theory and the Peer Influence Theory. However, none of these theories were proven conclusively. The fact is that we do not choose our sexual orientation; we are just born a certain way. Sexuality is not a medical aberration that can be corrected or changed. Medical science has clearly accepted homosexuality as an alternative sexual orientation. The fact that someone who is close to you may be homosexual could shock you at first but acceptance is important. Homophobia stems more from a fear of the unknown rather than from homosexuality.

– Dr. D. Narayana Reddy, Sexologist
(Deccan Chronicle Date 22/03/2011)

Mental health problems facing LGBT people are because of homophobia

Having worked with a fair number of lesbians and gay people in psychotherapy, I know that the only mental health problems they face are the homophobic social consequences of their sexual orientation; the humiliating marginalisation, the social pressure to go in for straight marriages, the dearth of readily available resources that can help them respond to their inner dictates and the fear of “coming out of the closet”. However, the good news is that many members of the LGBT community have endured all of this and are willing, on behalf of the more reticent members of their fraternity, to stand tall and be counted. Whatever pride the community experiences in the process, is more than well deserved.

– Dr. Vijay Nagaswami, Psychiatrist, Chennai.
(The Hindu Date: 25/6/2011)

Medical Service with compassion and respect for all regardless of sexual orientation

Physicians should provide medical service with compassion and respect for human dignity for all people irrespective of their sexual orientation. Training physicians and psychiatrists in the assessment of sexuality is mandatory. Research into the issues in India is crucial for increasing our understanding of the local and regional context. Human sexuality is complex and diverse. As with all complex behaviour and personality characteristics, biological and environmental influences combine to produce a particular sexual preference. We need to focus on people’s humanity rather than on their sexual orientation.

– Dr. KS Jacob, Department of Psychiatry, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
(The Hindu, Chennai editorial Date: 25/07/2009)

Accept yourself

When a person has homosexual orientation … he can get sexally aroused only by a person of the same sex and not by the other sex. My suggestion will be “accept your sexual orientation. It is not abnormal. It is not your fault. You have not chosen it . You are born that way. You are in no way inferior .”. If you accept your sexual status, then you will be comfortable with yourself. Thereby you can be useful to yourself and to your family.

– Dr. D. Narayana Reddy, Sexologist
(In online advice column to a homosexual man)

Mental Health Professionals oppose criminalization of Homosexuality

A group of reputed mental health professionals from across India have opposed the criminalization of homosexuality saying that it will result in irreparable psychological and mental harm to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. Read more.

Indian Journal of Psychiatry takes a stand on homosexuality

Drs. Rao and Jacob, in their editorial ‘Homosexuality and India’ in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry (2012), question unethical and unwarranted attempts at conversion therapy and call for physicians to provide medical service with compassion and respect for human dignity for all people irrespective of their sexual orientation.

Campaign for Open Minds

Indian Health Care Professionals join Orinam.net’s Campaign for Open Minds, opposing conversion therapy and supporting non-discriminatory, appropriate, and ethical treatment and healthcare for LGBT people.

This post is also available in: தமிழ் (Tamil)