Now the LGBTQ community in the city will have a safe space to express themselves, receive counselling, and intervention during a crisis. The Humsafar Trust, one of the oldest gay men’s and LGBTQ rights organisation in India is setting up a Delhi centre.
The organisation, primarily based out of Mumbai, was founded by Ashok Row Kavi, a journalist and activist who was one of the first persons in India to declare his sexual orientation in 1984.
“There are several organisations that are working with men having sex with men and transgender people, but their main focus is on prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. However, there is no one in the city focussing on mental health issues,” said Yashwinder Singh, manager of the CONNECT project under Humsafar Trust.
“If I have problems in integrating with the society, if I am being bullied or if I am being evicted from my house for my sexual orientation, HIV would be the last thing on my mind. I would want to speak to people like me. That is the gap Humsafar Trust will be filling in,” Singh said.
The drop-off centre at Humsafar Trust’s office in East of Kailash will be a safe space for people from LGBTQ community to meet, talk about their issues, take part in various activities and express themselves without any fear.
The centre will also provide primary counselling and is in the process of tying up with mental health experts across the city for counselling on various mental health issues.
Mental health issues are a double whammy for the LGBTQ community. “As such in India, people do not readily speak about or seek help for mental illnesses. It becomes more difficult for gay men or transgender people to reach out,” Singh observed.