LGBT+ community members in Kerala demand non-discriminatory healthcare access

‘Many forced to undergo treatment for sexual orientation or gender identity’

February 24, 2020 01:29 am | Updated 10:02 am IST - KOCHI

Representational image.

Representational image.

Even as Kerala’s achievements in the healthcare sector are often been cited as a benchmark for other States, one of the major challenges of being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, or Asexual (LGBT+) in the State is being unable to access non-discriminatory healthcare, according to Queerala, a community-based organisation.

Queerala board member Vihaan Peethambar told The Hindu that there had been instances when many members were directed or forced to undergo treatment for their sexual orientation or gender identity, which included being locked up in de-addiction centres and undergoing shock therapy.

‘Treatment delayed’

Many times treatment of serious injuries to transwomen were delayed by doctors who assumed that they were involved in criminal activities. Advocacy with mental health professionals in the State was expected to bring in change, especially at a time when there had been favourable law reforms on LGBT+ rights, said Mr. Peethambar.

He was in the city to participate in a seminar on ‘Towards LGBTIQ+ Inclusive Healthcare in Kerala’ organised on Sunday by the State branch of the Indian Psychiatric Society, in association with the Ernakulam branch of IPS, Queerala and SAATHI, a charitable organisation working with HIV-infected persons in Chennai.

Experiences were shared at the seminar by members of the LGBT+ community and activists across Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. IPS-Kerala president M.T. Harish inaugurated the seminar.

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