The new portal helping the LGBTQ community find healthcare and legal aid without fear of discrimination
They won't judge you
Being gay in India means relatives suggesting a ‘cure’ for your err, orientation, and friends who may not always understand your state of mind. Even a regular check-up at your doctor could go south if he/she isn’t equipped to understand your sexual orientation and lifestyle. And let’s not forget, Section 377 makes homosexuality a crime in this country.
Enter, an online locator for queer-friendly services in India. Launched by Kolkata-based Varta Trust (which focuses on gender and sexuality publishing), the portal offers contact details of sexual health specialists, mental health professionals and human rights lawyers that are sensitised to the LGBTQIA community’s experiences. No judgement, no attempts at reform.
Members of the community are often vulnerable to blackmail, and having a safe space to go to for legal aid and physical and mental healthcare is significant. For instance, you can use the portal to find legal aid if you are being denied property rights, or seek a therapist to help you with coming out to your family.
The online locator is a joint effort by Varta, Grindr for Equality (dating app Grindr’s programme to promote LGBTQIA health and rights) and SAATHII (a Chennai-based NGO that works to empower the LGBT community). “We were getting a lot of queries on these issues that we tried to address on a one-on-one basis and through our articles. But sometimes, people need to interact with professionals and get treatment,” says Pawan Dhall, a founding trustee at Varta.
At present, it covers around 70 professionals in 30 cities in 16 states. The database is an ongoing effort, and with the community’s feedback, more names will be added. If you experience a problematic scenario with a listing, let them know and they promise to look into it.