A community and a health issue of concern

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A community and a health issue of concern

  • Mental illnesses and challenges that India’s LGBTQIA++ people face need comprehensive and long-term solutions.

Reasons for stigma and suffering

  • Life-long dissonance
  • Deep-rooted stigma,
  • Discrimination
  • Abuse that leads to extreme distress and poor self-worth, resulting in self-hate and suffering.
  • Society marginalises them throughout life.


  • If a person’s gender identity is different from sex assigned to them at birth, this conflict and othering is extreme.
  • Person feels trapped and conflicted, that feeds their gender dysphoria.
  • All these can result in internalised homophobia, often leading to anxiety, loneliness and substance use.

Inadequate health services

  • Mental health services are hardly available.
  • Psychiatrists in India still consider diverse sexual orientations and gender identities as a disorder and practice ‘correctional therapy’.
  • This is true of general health care as well.
  • Raahat Project: large number of trans and gay men preferred to seek help in private sector rather than access government health care due to harassment and stigma.

Suggested Measures

  • long-term solutions that make queer mental health a priority.
  • Engage all stakeholders: educational institutions, communities, health-care providers, mental health professionals, police personnel and families.
  • Aspect of mental health work must include aspects of queer mental health issues to destigmatise diverse gender and sexual identities.
  • Build self-care skills among queer adolescents and youth.
  • Movement on queer mental health guided by non-discrimination and public awareness to change social attitudes.
  • Community building can improve mental health for LGBTQIA++ people.


  • Without addressing both the preventive and support aspects of the mental health of LGBTQIA++ people we will compound an already neglected problem of mental illness that will be hard to handle in the future.