Members of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community in the Capital will soon have a dedicated centre providing crisis management and counselling services. One of India's oldest LGBT organisations, the Humsafar Trust, will inaugurate its new centre in Delhi on April 7.
“The Humsafar Trust will bring our best services in counselling, crisis management and community mobilisation to the LGBT groups in Delhi-NCR and other nearby areas. We also hope to network directly with the Parliament and the Union government on important legislation regarding sexual minorities and their problems,” said Ashok Row Kavi, a journalist and an activist.
Humsafar was set up in Mumbai in 1994 and is one of the leading organisations covering the spectrum of sexual minorities in India. Humsafar's Delhi office is supported by project CONNECT, which focuses on building the capacities of LGBT organisations working in various parts of the country.
Ashok Row Kavi, the founder and chairperson of Humsafar Trust, said it was a long-held dream to bring the organisation to Delhi.
Humsafar’s Delhi office will host informative sessions every Friday on legal awareness, mental health, social entitlements among other issues. It will also offer counselling services by community counsellors. For any advance counselling support like mental health, it will have referrals to experts.
‘Living under stigma’
“LGBTQ persons in India generally live under double or triple stigma because of their sexuality, and tend to hide themselves due to societal and other pressures. This leads to many mental health issues concerning the community. Humsafar's LGBTQ centre in Delhi hopes to provide not only a safer place for the community members, but also counselling and links with mental health professionals,” said Vivek Anand, CEO of Humsafar Trust.
The Humsafar Trust has been involved in community initiatives in neighbouring regions -- it supported the Chandigarh Queer Pride in March this year and is also supporting the Awadh Pride march that is scheduled to be held on April 9.
Humsafar Delhi will also act as secretariat to INFOSEM - integrated network for sexual minorities - that has representation of more than 150 members, largely Community Based Organisations (CBOs) from all over India. Humsafar is also working on establishing India's first-ever National LGBTQ Resource centre under project CONNECT. “The idea is to support new initiatives of community and LGBTQ youth,” said Yashwinder Singh, program manager, CONNECT.