McKINSEY would say one in 10 women has had a lesbian experience. There were at least 20
lesbians among the 200 women present at the support-protest for Fire at Delhi's Regal cinema last week. That, lesbian groups contend, and not uncontroversially, seems to validate the McKinsey figure even in the Indian context.
Women handling helpline queries reveal that most female callers are between the ages of 16 to 60, that they talk of confusion about their 'normalcy', confess to their fear of social ostracism, of isolation, suicidal despair, absence of friends and communities to relate and confide in and of relentless pressure to marry and do the 'right thing'.
Many complain of sexual dissatisfaction with husbands, say they find emotional and physical satisfaction with women. Others ask about sex-change operations which to them seem the only viable route to living with their female paramours. Callers, say helplines, belong to English-speaking as well as middle and lower-middle class strata. Counsellors feel providing affirmation, safe spaces, leading callers to mental spaces where they can take "clearer decisions", is their function. In their book, prescriptive solutions should not be demanded or delivered. ,
Post Box No. 16613, Matunga, Bombay 400019 A group of bisexual and lesbian women who want to network with similar women and with groups that believe in justice and equality for all.
Sangini : 6851970,6851971
Delhi-based Lesbian Helpline (Tuesday 6 to 8 pm) Most women who call in are married and looking for lesbian relationships.
TARSHI : 4624441,4622221
Delhi-based Sexual Health Helpline.