Discussing Queer Trauma, Mental Health, and How to Make Public Spaces More Inclusive

A very interactive workshop on mental health was organized by the Keshav Suri Foundation at The LaLiT New Delhi. The workshop was attended by people from the LGBTQIA+ community and by parents of Queer people, from Sweekar The Rainbow Parents. It was moderated by Mr. Akshay Tyagi and Mr. Deepak Kashyap.

The workshop was activity-based and all the participants were divided into groups. It was necessary to have both parents as well as Queer people in every group for a holistic discussion. Each group was then given a question related to the Queer experience and was told to write down the main points after a discussion.

One of the factors that were heavily emphasized by the participants was the need for honest communication between the parent(s)/primary caregivers and the child. The profound importance of parental reactions and comments was reiterated by many participants. Even though the initial reactions of all the parents present were very varied and differed from the others, ultimately they all talked about loving and accepting the child unconditionally and the need for putting the child above society.

The extremely problematic situation in schools was also discussed many times. One of the parents, Ms. Aarti Malhotra, shared her journey in a very emotional conversation. She talked about losing her child forever due to the constant bullying and harassment that her son faced because of being Queer. The need for awareness in schools and proper training for all the teaching and non-teaching staff was emphasized. A sensitization session for parents—even expecting parents—was also posited as an important action that should be taken.

The workshop ended with a presentation on the things that should be done to make educational institutions and corporate organizations a Queer-friendly space. Gender awareness sessions, well-trained and qualified counselors, gender-friendly infrastructure, and proper training for the staff came up as universal to-dos. Having Queer inclusive policies and tailored filtering of job candidates were also brought up as things that can be done to make all institutions inclusive.

Mr. Kashyap, a practicing psychologist, also talked about generational trauma and how parents pass it on to their children. He also touched upon the historical and mythological presence of the Queer community in the Indian context. He then ended by discussing practical tools for mindfulness that focused on one’s sensory perceptions.