“There are still countries where it’s seen as an illness,” he told the Guardian. “We need to make a stand.” The 61-year-old is also professor of psychiatry and diversity at King’s College London, and chair of the Mental Health Foundation.
He is already ‘out’ in his personal life but hadn’t spoken about his sexuality publicly until his Guardian interview with journalist Patrick Strudwick.
Professor Bhugra will next year become the first gay president of the World Psychiatric Association, which represents and supports 200,000 psychiatrists worldwide.
He acknowledged that his profession had a chequered past. ”There is no doubt psychiatry hasn’t covered itself in glory. I think we ought to be apologising for all of the areas, not just one bit – like the treatment of women,” he said. “I remember seeing a patient admitted to a psychiatric hospital when she was 16 because she got pregnant outside marriage. She died there in her 80s.”