A much-maligned term, LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. Further, IA has been sometimes added, representing Intersex and A-sexual. LGBTQ lifestyles are mysterious because they are isolated from regular society. Persons in this category are somehow different from straight or ordinary people. In what sense?
Sexual characteristics are different. The attraction for the same sex rather than the opposite sex is what gay and lesbian mean. By bisexual is meant an attraction for both sexes. When gender identity differs from the one assigned at birth, it is called transgender. All these categories different from the usual are represented as queer. LGBTQ in India has some issues to redress. LGBTQ personal problems require research and close attention.
Dedicated Counseling Tools and Techniques
The art and science of counseling and therapy borrow from various disciplines. Psychology and psychiatry, CBT, and NLP are some of the approaches. Reprogramming the mind and feelings, emotions and thoughts is an effective strategy.
Opening up to the world is a difficult task for the affected person. Having lived under stress for so long, leading an ordinary life of study and work gets challenging indeed. Discrimination is everywhere like in the school and office, marketplace, bank and post office, shopping, and travel.
The Supreme Advantages of the Counseling Platform
LGBTQ lifestyles require systematic analysis. In many cases, LGBTQ counseling just provides a safe space to vent grievances and those are many. Common experience indicates that simply speaking out about problems does bring relief to the emotions. No wonder that even writing works as a kind of therapy. LGBTQ counseling services that offer many Indian languages like Hindi, Punjabi, and Bengali have a great advantage. In a sense, it is like recording a private speech of confessions but it is far more.
The counselor is listening intently to the anonymous talk and gradually a give and take is established. Hesitant at first, the interviewee speaks out whether through the audio or video call or even in person.
Delivering redress may not be so easy. However, attempts are made to find a way out. Developing a strategy and a plan of action would help construct a better future. Superimposing layers of cheerful thoughts, feelings and emotions are one of several approaches towards a positive future. LGBTQ Counseling India can do so much good.
Virtues of LGBTQ Counseling
In an age when the media has opened up to distant communication as if seated face to face, counseling stands a good chance. A research-based dedicated counselor perhaps through the phone or online can make a huge difference to solve LGBTQ personal problems. Preferably, a counselor who is also a member of the LBGTQ community would attract more confidence. Such a person may be hard to find but one specialized in such a field would be very effective. The victimized community lives behind a wall of closed barriers. LGBTQ in India needs lots of encouraging development facilities.
Coping up with the realities of life is the test. Finding meaning in life and relationships would be possible as a result of affirmative therapy. In such an environment, the individual feels confident to open up and express the fears and worries seated deep inside. Like seeking medical treatment for a long-standing dental problem forever postponed, maybe the issue was long pending. Just like everybody needs an occasional nudge and support from close friends or relations, these marginalized people need a counselor. Especially during trying situations like examinations and job interviews, a helping hand is surely required.
Counseling is Common to Everybody
The general principles of counseling therapy apply equally well to other people as they do to LGBTQs. Study and work, relationships, partnerships, pursuing trade and making a living, and getting along in life. How are gays different from heterosexual individuals? The basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing apply to all equally. Air and sunshine, water, and resources are some other important needs. LGBTQ lifestyles are no different from the others in some senses.
The Search for Self-identity
In the troubled psyche of the gays and queers, transgender and a-sexual guys, finding a self-identity is the challenge. Where do they stand about the heterosexual men and women who are the norm? Investigating themselves and their thought processes, the counselor helps to find a way. Cutting through the clouds and mysteries in the mind, LGBTQs must gain a better understanding of who they are.
Recognizing their handicaps and the prejudices they face would give them a better chance at meaningful survival. To be independent, they have to work. Professional work requires education, skills, and training. Some victims may need to be rehabilitated just like addicts undergo re-education.
A Great Need for Confidence
Despite all the objections and hurdles, LGBTQs have to push through and find a way. They need courage and motivation. Sometimes the dangers can get physical too. Sustained study and work require support that the counselor can give. The counselor is not an individual but represents society. An organization, institution, or NGO has a greater voice than an individual. Such firm support will help persons lost in the wilderness of isolation for many years.
LGBTQs in India
Since the time of the Vedas 5000 years ago, homosexuals have existed in India. It is good to think that public concern for them has been opening up. Modern thinking has a positive impact. It is only fair that everybody gets a fair deal to enjoy the gifts of life. The future seems to be bright for the marginalized community though the change has been very slow indeed.
‘Hijra’ is a common term in India to refer to transgender people. All-India Hijra Conference was held in Agra in 1981. About 50,000 community members attended.
Sangini and Humraz were launched in 1997. These helplines assist the lost people. Sangini helps lesbians, transgender women, and bisexuals. Humraz helps the queers among men.
In 2010 came the initial launch of the mega-scale LGBTQ film festivals in India. LGBTQ personal problems now started getting more attention.
Article 377 of the Indian Constitution
LGBTQ in India has suffered for a very long. Introduced way back in 1861 under British rule, article 377 opposes unnatural sex. Unnatural intercourse with a man, woman, or animal was deemed punishable with imprisonment and a fine. Gays and lesbians were liable to be punished. Luckily for gays and lesbians, article 377 was withdrawn rather recently. Love for the same sex is no longer punishable. In 2018, the Indian Supreme Court deleted Section 377 and better days had arrived at least legally for the oppressed community. The colonial Article 377 prohibited relationships between the same sex. Still, equality status continues to be denied to gays and lesbians.
Article 15 of the Indian Constitution stops discrimination based on caste or religion, sex, etc. Rural societies still cannot accept gay equality. Cities have opened up to them to a large extent.
Also in 2018, the Army Act, 1950, the Navy Act, 1957, and the Air Force Act, 1950, were modified to enable LGBTQ persons to serve in the armed forces. Jagdambika Pal (BJP) announced the bill.
Further, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 says that transgender people will not be discriminated against. Education and services, health facilities, and whatever caters to the general public cannot be denied. Transgenders have the right to buy or rent a property. They can hold public or private office in government and private agencies.
According to an estimate in 2012, India has 2.5 million gay people.
A severely victimized community in need of counseling
Conformity and sameness are very highly valued in a democratic approach. Globally, the consumer culture and the system of uniforms stress sameness. Food and work, vehicles, and thoughts are similar. Anything different is blamed. The same idea applies to genders. Traditionally, the male and female genders marry and raise children. The love between a man and woman is the norm.
LGBTQs are different in the attraction towards the same sex or both sexes, the bisexual. It is not the individual’s fault. They were born that way. A large number of such individuals are found in India. Like inferior outcasts, they are isolated in society. They have to live in a closed community with similar persons.
In a sense, LGBTQs may be compared to lunatics and criminals who for various reasons need to remain apart from regular society. Straight people want to keep them at a distance. They find something strange and ugly about them.
Discrimination and distrust, anger, and hatred, for generations, have resulted in a miserable psyche for the LGBTQs in India and around the world. Advanced societies may be more liberal and broad-minded. India continues to live in conservative times. LGBTQ Counseling India can play an important role. LGBTQ personal problems need attention.
A few LBGTQ Indians who hit the limelight
Celebrities exist in a halo of light, fame, and success! In some cases, the sexual orientation may not be known. Dutee Chand, the athlete, was openly gay. Bobby Darling was a transgender actress. Tista Das, a transgender activist. Sushant Divgikar was Mr. India Gay 2014. Firdaus Kanga, the writer, and actor, and Celina Jaitley, Miss India 2001. Rituparno Ghosh, the filmmaker, received many awards. LGBTQ lifestyles became well known because of numerous celebrities.
The sufferings of LGBTQs in India and abroad
Change comes at a great price. India is changing under the impact of the digital media that connects with the world in moments. Social media brings the world into the home and office. Thinking is shifting. Urban cultures at least are getting more tolerant towards gays and transgenders.
Yet, the grim fact remains that study and work, social participation, and family life are excessively difficult for transgenders. The media does remind us that some of them are getting high positions but those stories are few. Most of them lead a sad existence. Coping with distrust and hatred can be weakening and very stressful.
It is a life full of anxiety and sadness. Amidst mental challenges and conflict, it is a life of constant sadness. Being rejected by the family and denied human rights, is a meaningless existence. Harassed everywhere, they live in fear of HIV and AIDS. LGBTQ in India needs help urgently.
Why should LGBTQs be marginalized globally?
One can think of many examples of discrimination based on religion and language. Discrimination is also based on ethnicity and skin color. At the same time, it is a struggle between supporters and opponents. It can be said that discrimination is gradually reducing. Opinion polls indicate such cooling of traditional passions and hatred.
As a result of the world media and closer contact between cultures, greater understanding is the effect. World bodies like the United Nations Organization have helped weaker communities. Amidst the covid19 pandemic too, a universal helping hand is reaching across continents and cultures. LGBTQ Counseling India has been working steadily to help the community.
Isn’t it great injustice on a large scale that LGBTQs need to suffer? They are denied a place in the sun. They cannot get the best jobs and are denied housing facilities. Socially too, they are boycotted as if they are inferior. The fact that several of them have carved a name and fame in various industries like film and literature, art, and music reminds us that they have the same natural gifts as everybody else. Training will give them the same chances as the others.
The problem is that such a lack of understanding has continued for too long. Comparing their plight, they have suffered like the native Indians in America and the Jews across history, though not in similar ways.
Human Rights for everybody:
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) stresses equality and freedom from discrimination.
- Life and liberty, security, and freedom are universal gifts.
- Everybody has equality in legal terms and the right to the wedding and raise a family.
- Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are making efforts to help affected persons
- International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has been working for long
- UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATION is dedicated to helping them
Differing approaches to LGBTQs
- Laws in some countries protect them and violators are penalized in other nation
- In Saudi Arabia and Iran, the demand is that homosexuals be executed
- Some countries do not consider such wrongs to be human rights violations
- Only a few advanced countries allow same-sex marriages legally. Canada and Belgium, Netherlands and Spain are some such countries.
What exactly are the nasty experiences the community faces?
Quality of life suffers harshly with basic services like medical care denied. When fundamental rights have no meaning, it appears as if life is not worth living. Morale suffers a terrible blow and everything comes under a cloud.
- Oppression becomes a bitter nightmare with no hope in sight.
- Stressed lives are full of handicaps, both physical and mental.
- Home and school environments become arenas for cruelty and bullying.
- Education and jobs become hard to obtain and sustain for a long.
- Social life is denied.
- Such persons cannot progress far professionally with chances unavailable.
- Trauma and fear of prejudice become common and confidence is lost.
- Loneliness and suicide may occur in desperation.
How do they fare in the developed world?
Even in western societies, such persons are three times more exposed to anxiety and depression. Youth stand four times the dangers of suicide. Similarly, many such persons stand at risk of substance abuse, violence, and murder.
Compared to Asian societies, the advanced west is certainly more liberal and tolerant. They allow greater freedom and do not ostracize the gay community so severely. Same-sex marriages have solved some of the eternal conflicts between the sexes. Those who cannot tolerate the opposite sex can have a chance with their sex. Adoption is quite feasible and several such cases now exist of happily married same-sex relationships.
India is not so advanced
LGBTQ Counseling India has a long way to go. Though India has progressed very far in certain areas like technology and manufacturing, rigid thinking along traditional lines will not allow same-sex marriages. Why not? It is considered immoral and socially wrong and unhealthy. The age-old heterosexual union is perfect for conjugal relationships and giving rise to the new generation. How will same-sex couples do that, except by adoption? In adoption, they have not contributed their genes. Test-tube babies and IVF have indeed brought novelty but much of the society is yet conventional.
Sharing, Equality, and Dignity
Mutual give and take and exchanging feelings, news and information fairly among oppressed persons would improve the situation. Very often, it is a lack of information that harms the situation. Consider study, work, and play, and how data rules everything.
Living amidst the deluge of daily digital information, would it not be possible to give LGBTQs a fresh chance? Data management nowadays has the power to make or break companies and governments, leaders, and celebrities! It requires the willingness of those in power. Just like rich nations have the economic power to uplift a lot of poverty-filled nations, why don’t they help this suffering community?
Tapping the mighty power of social media and digital supremacy, creating a new world for LGBTQs is possible. It is an environmental change that is required, at least in certain countries that see them as ugly. When it comes to some advanced countries, they have mostly allowed gays and queers to prosper in peace. All may not be well but it is better than the narrow-minded communities.
The March of History
While the ups and downs of history are loaded with evil and tyranny, guilt, and wrongdoing, the world improves. Conflicts indeed continue and wars are still fought. Yet, the glimmer of hope remains. Humankind is progressing in the 21st century for sure.
Guilty of ethnic conflict and prejudice based on color, religion, and language, let good sense prevail. Each society has a share of gays and queers. Since it is a common problem, working together to get rid of the mental hurdles is all that is required.
Gays and Queers in the global public eye
Media publicity being important to highlight issues, gay marches and parades across the world regularly brought them into the limelight. Delhi Pride Parade in 2019 is one of the recent events before the covid19 pandemic. Pride Month and Pride Day being celebrated, gays and lesbians seem to be often in the public eye. Like companies and products advertising over the media, controversies must remain visible. Otherwise, they are quickly forgotten.
Jamshedpur Pride happened in 2018 and Bhopal Pride in 2017. Nagpur witnessed the Orange City LGBT Pride March in 2016.
Similarly, global events remind us of the gay plight. New York, the leader, and the world witnessed such events in 2019. San Francisco, Chicago, and Houston are some other venues in America that stage gay pride.
The need for family-based counseling
Basic common sense and the logic of dignity help understand the LGBTQ problem. Mostly, the mistake is made to think of them as individuals, as if isolated cases. Consider the suffering individuals as a part of the family system. Society is made up of communities and family units, gays too belong to some such niche. They should have a belonging.
When counseling and healing are attempted, it should be the family that is targeted. Based on family values of mutual help and solace, gays would succeed in normal life. While gays and lesbians are already doing rather well in the developed world, discrimination yet lingers in India. Muslim societies would rather get rid of them by execution but the world will not allow it. Extremist thinking would only make their plight worse. Violence has been practiced against members of the community in various parts of the world. LGBTQ personal problems require expert management.
LGBTQ groups in India
Organizations like HUMSAFAR TRUST and HARMLESS HUGS in India have been working towards the welfare of the marginalized community. Enhancements can happen only gradually and persons should come forward and be involved in activities. Simply meeting together under the same roof has a positive effect. Far-flung loneliness can only get in the way of development.
Now that digital media offers mighty wonders, it should prove a blessing to remain in close contact and discuss personal issues. Everybody needs personal support and a helping hand for those suffering oppressed individuals who were born different.
A positive future of community building
Just like society is organized around professions, religions, and languages, LGBTQs form a group of people. In recent times, they are doing rather well. Having attained some senior positions in government and private organizations, they are breaking free after the isolation of centuries.
With the facilities provided by organizations that work for their betterment, the future is bright. The sustained effort, positive approaches and they should be reaching higher in good time. LGBTQ Counseling India will light up the way to a better existence.