Many psychiatrists, especially from the older generation, approach homosexuality as an illness, despite it being removed from the list of mental disorders in 1973, and follow sexual reorientation therapy, said doctors and gay rights activists.
A paper published by Dr Gurvinder Kalra, assistant professor of psychiatry at MGM University of Health Sciences, Kamothe, in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics talks of a 26-year gay man who underwent intense psychiatric therapy to ‘cure’ himself of his sexual orientation. Despite no history of depression, psychosis or bipolar disorder, he was given medication, presumably “with the intention of reducing overall sexual desire”.
“There is no protocol to cure homosexuality in psychiatry. Only if the patient is diagnosed for depression or psychosis can he be given these medications,” said Dr Kalra.
Most homosexuals go through wrong counselling and ‘treatment’ before they become comfortable with their sexual orientation. “Many members of our community who approach us want to change their orientation. But through right counselling, they could accept who they are,” said Pallav Patankar from Humsafar Trust.
Patankar said many parents drag their children who have revealed their sexual orientation to psychiatrists. “If a gay person has emotional issues, he can’t waste time with a doctor who wants to change his orientation,” said Patankar.