Mumbai: Factors preventing women from coming out range from women feeling more answerable to their families than men and having fewer opportunities to interact with interested same-sex persons, says a report in dnaindia.com.
Ever wondered why you find more homosexual men than women in India? Is it a result of the skewed male-female ratio? Or is it because there are fewer homosexual women? it asked.
The closeted nature of the community makes it difficult to gather concrete information. However, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) rights activists tell us that the factors preventing women from coming out, range from women feeling more answerable to their families than men and having fewer opportunities to interact with interested same-sex persons to restrictions on mobility and double discrimination on the basis of gender and sexuality, the dnaindia.com report pointed out.
It quoted Harish Iyer, who ranked 71 on the World Pride Power List of 2013, as saying:, “Women are not considered sexual beings. They’re expected to satisfy men and not have a desire to be satisfied themselves. Even within the community, they are discriminated against in the run up to positions of power.”
Gay men have several spaces for interaction: dating websites, party groups, cruising locations and now even Grindr, an app that notifies them when other gay men are nearby. Not much exists for lesbian women.
Sonal Giani of Humsafar Trust in dnaindia.com points out, “There are less than 10 support groups for women, but over 200 for men. They also receive funding for HIV. Finding it difficult to talk about sex and sexuality, women often go into depression and take to substance abuse such as drinking, smoking and sometimes drugs.”
The good news is, technology—including mobile apps and social networking sites like Facebook—has made it easier for women to connect; more women seem to have come out in the past two years, says dnaindia.com.
“Most women who call our helpline think they’re alone; they just want to connect and know that they’re normal. Others face marriage pressure and parental objections to their relationships. Many callers are from tier two cities like Nagpur, Igatpuri, Punjab and Patna,” shares Shruta Neytra of Umang.