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, 52 (Suppl 1), S264-8

Sexual Variation in India: A View From the West


Sexual Variation in India: A View From the West

Gurvinder Kalra et al. Indian J Psychiatry.


Sexual variation has been reported across cultures for millennia. Sexual variation deals with those facets of sexual behavior which are not necessarily pathological. It is any given culture that defines what is abnormal and what is deviant. In scriptures, literature and poetry in India same sex love has been described and explained in a number of ways. In this paper we highlight homosexual behavior and the role of hijras in the Indian society, among other variations. These are not mental illnesses and these individuals are not mentally ill. Hence the role of psychiatry and psychiatrists has to be re-evaluated. Attitudes of the society and the individual clinicians may stigmatize these individuals and their behavior patterns. Indian psychiatry in recent times has made some progress in this field in challenging attitudes, but more needs to be done in the 21(st) century. We review the evidence and the existing literature.

Keywords: Bisexuality; hijra; homosexuality; men who have sex with men; sexual fluidity; sexual variation.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest: None declared

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