Online help for LGBTQ community launched in Kolkata

A Los Angeles-based organisation in association with two bodies based in Kolkata and Chennai has launched the service.

kolkata Updated: Jul 04, 2018 12:41 IST
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times
LGBTQ,Grindr For Equality,Kolkata
LGBTQ community members participating in a pride walk in Bhopal. (HT Photo)

Getting authentic data on incidences of crime against LGBTQ (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Queer) community in India is difficult. It is equally difficult for the community members to access details of lawyers, psychologists or doctors who work for the community.

To address that shortcoming, Grindr for Equality, a network based in Los Angeles has developed a single-window online locator of sexual health, mental health and legal aid service providers for LGBTQ members across India in association with Kolkata-based Varta Trust and Chennai-based Solidarity & Action Against the HIV Infection in India (SAATHII).

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The online locator was launched at American Centre in Kolkata on June 28.

“To begin with, the locator will have details of queer-friendly lawyers, psychologists and doctors from 30 cities in 16 Indian states. The geographical coverage will increase in future,” said Pawan Dhall, founder trustee of Varta Trust.

“The next probable thought is to develop a kind of hate tracker,” where people from the community can report incidences of hatred, abuse, discrimination or assault against them. This will give a clear idea on the trend of crime against the community as well as geographical locations where such incidences are maximum,” added Dhall.

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He doubts whether the data on violence against the community available from the National Crime Records Bureau is comprehensive, since most incidences go unreported.

According to Jack Harrison-Quintana, director of Grindr For Equality, this is the largest database and service locator that Grindr has partnered with anywhere globally.

“Each state in India will have a database which will broadcast information related to service providers there,” Quintana added.

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According to criminal lawyer of Calcutta High Court and LGBTQ activist, Kaushik Gupta, often people from queer community are not aware of their legal rights and are at a loss about whom to approach in case they become victims of some crime.

“Many are not aware of existence of State Legal Services Authority and District Legal Services Authority that are supposed to provide aid to those who are not able to appoint lawyers. So the online locater can be of immense help to them,” said Gupta.

Currently, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Assam are states with maximum entries in the database. In Bengal service providers are listed from smaller urban centres such as Barasat, Baruipur, Berhampore, Itahar and Malda apart from Kolkata.

First Published: Jul 04, 2018 12:41 IST