Though India removed homosexuality from the list of mental disorders in 1973, some psychiatrics often think like quacks while counselling gay people.
A 26-year old gay man, identified as Mr A, was recently prescribed psychiatric drugs and advised to visit prostitutes to ‘cure’ him of his homosexuality and help him marry a woman, a paper in Indian Journal of Medical Ethics has said.
Mr A’s case is highlighted in the paper by Dr Gurvinder Kalra, assistant professor of Psychiatry at MGM University of Health Sciences, Navi Mumbai, which looks at prejudices that still exist against homosexuals in sections of the Indian medical community.
Mr A, who met Dr Kalra in March this year, had problems with his sexual orientation. He had been seeing psychiatrists who told him that his attraction towards men “could be controlled” and that he could be sexually attracted to women by completing a course of medicines for six months. After six months, the psychiatrist reportedly advised him to visit a prostitute. Mr A told Dr Kalra that he even visited a sex worker thrice, hoping to change his sexual orientation.
Dr Kalra found out that Mr A had been prescribed anti-depressants and anti-psychotic drugs, even though he had never been diagnosed with any mental illness.
The drugs played havoc with his sexual libido.
In 1973, homosexuality was removed from the disorder category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Calling for a need for urgent reforms in the mental healthcare system, Dr Kalra said Mr A’s case highlighted “how a psychiatrist can breach therapeutic boundaries”.