- Indian society continues to be bigoted toward homosexuality despite the fact that the Supreme Court decriminalizing Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code mirrors the general unacceptance of the majority of people on the subject matter. In this age of mind-boggling technological advancements, innovations, and dynamically evolving pathbreaking newer inventions must have forced us to open up our collective minds to get rid of those medieval beliefs. Unfortunately, even though the aspirational society looks forward to soaking in the revolutionary new-age materialistic innovativeness, the prejudiced thinking of yore continues to rule amongst us, a fact that cannot be ignored or brushed under the carpet.
PC: Ralph Jennings
- Typical constricted and prejudiced thinking hasn’t changed for good as yet. As you are aware, in a landmark judgment four years ago the Supreme Court decriminalized homosexuality after years of litigation from the queer community. We all know how society viewed the community with disparagement and hatred and hence was forced to operate underground for obvious reasons. The Supreme Court stepping in to decriminalize homosexuality meant the community could finally come out in the open expecting long-awaited acceptance from society. Unfortunately, a law founded on prejudice being struck down doesn’t mean the prejudice withers away.
- And one egregious example of this is conversion therapy, which aims to cure sexual orientations and gender identities outside heterosexual conventions. Yes, it is a measure of how intense bigotry is that this practice persists despite frequently inflicting trauma, including depression and suicidal ideation. Thankfully, it took a Madras high court directive for the National Medical Commission to finally and firmly direct all state medical councils to take disciplinary action against medical professionals who practice conversion therapy. But NMC needs to practice what it has been asked to preach – because prejudice runs deep here too.
- A study published on medical school students, interns, and postgrads in India has found that only around 20% of respondents believe homosexuality is not an illness and another survey of Calcutta National Medical College students reports that only 55% strongly disagree that homosexuality is an illness. Fathom this, the Indian Psychiatric Society depathologized homosexuality only as late as 2018. Further, the US data indicates that around half the persons receiving conversion therapy are adolescents, whose cooperation is often extracted from their desire to be a better son or daughter.
- Mind you, it’s the parents who need to be better instead, not to mention physicians who inflict pointless and heart-breaking treatments on defenseless children. The same holds for Indian parents too. Some of India’s young are made to suffer what is essentially 19th-century quackery thanks to doctors who offer such services. Thus, it becomes incumbent on NMC to take severe disciplinary action against such practitioners in line with the changing times.