Hyderabad: Suicides triggered by depression are increasing not just among the transgender people but also among the lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer (LGBQ) community in the city.
While support on the ground has been increasing, members of the community say authorities are still far from concerned about issues plaguing their lives. About 30 persons’ lives identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or gender queer are snuffed out due to suicide every year in the city, Sandeepan of Queer Campus Hyderabad told Telangana Today.
“Hundreds of LGBQ youngsters contemplate suicide all the time. Every year, we at Queer Campus handle at least 30 suicide cases, while counselling many more to give them hope.
There is discrimination at every level, and so much fear, that members of the community are dying out of psychological stress more than anything else,” said Sandeepan, 23, who prefers to be called Sandi.
Members of the LGBQ community say they are worse off in many ways than those of the transgender community.
Sense of alienation
“The transgender person has hope in visibility and a growing movement of support that has got the attention of authorities. Plus, they have a place in Indian culture and tradition. For us, there is no such silver lining. We are thought of as sex-hungry perverts, who are suffering from fleeting abnormalities,” said BTech grad Anil, a Quality Analyst at Amazon here.
Anil related his personal experience of having to consult a senior psychologist at a reputed clinic here, only because of parental pressure.
“He recommended shock therapy for me. How can a psychologist do that, knowing well that queer sexual orientation is no disease or disorder? Doctors in India are aware of the paranoia of parents in this regard, so they make the most of it and cash in by providing false, expensive treatment,” said Anil.
Also among the major problems the community faces is near total lack of education about gender and sexuality.
Jobs too a problem
“Even senior professors in reputed colleges here refuse to acknowledge the existence of LGBQ people. We are treated by peers and family as diseased exceptions to humanity,” said Anil.
There is also the issue of unemployment for LGBQ youth.
“Except for a few MNCs, all workplaces lay us off as soon as they find out. They make the excuse of non-performance while sacking a queer person, but we know the reason. We know that we are thought of as monsters who will spread havoc of some sexual kind,” said Anil, citing examples of several of his friends who lost their jobs in this way.
Some hope prevails
The LGBQ community in the city is fighting an uphill battle, but all is not lost. According to Sandi, more than 5,000 people from the city have registered as gay on a queer dating website that opened recently.
“When we began the pride parade in 2013, the support was weak. Only some people turned up that year. But in 2017, about 800 people participated in the walk and we are expecting more than 1,000 this February. Support from young people is growing, and it is coming from all sides. I have a number of friends who are straight but will stand up for me any day,” he said.