A high-profile Indian psychiatrist is making headlines for controversial remarks describing homosexuality as “unnatural” and something that can be changed with psychiatric help.
Dr. Indira Sharma, the immediate past president of the Indian Psychiatric Society, made the comments during a recent panel discussion on the Indian Supreme Court’s ruling last month recriminalizing gay sex. In an interview with The Times of India, Sharma reiterated her statements:
"The manner in which homosexuals have brought the talk of sex to the roads makes people uncomfortable. It's unnatural. Our society doesn't talk about sex. Heterosexuals don't talk about sex. It's a private matter," the Banaras Hindu University teacher told TOI on phone.
The paper added:
Asked about the speech, Sharma said her main concern was for homosexuals [who] aren't comfortable with their sexuality. "There are some who are comfortable, but there are many who are not. The latter should realize they can get help (from psychiatrists). Some of them may even be able to change their orientation," Sharma said. She added that those comfortable with their orientation should be made aware that their behaviour was causing a lot of uneasiness in society.
Gay rights activists in the country say Sharma’s comments were surprising, particularly in light of the fact that the IPS had a written policy position in 2009 supporting the Supreme Court’s ruling at the time decriminalizing homosexuality.