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  • 07 September, 2022

  • 9 Min Read

Ban on Conversion Therapy for the LGBTQIA+ Community

Ban on Conversion Therapy for the LGBTQIA+ Community

  • In a letter to all State Medical Councils, the National Medical Commission (NMC) forbade conversion therapy for the LGBTQIA+ community and referred to it as "professional misconduct."
  • The Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquettes and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, which the NMC used in its declaration that conversion treatment is unethical, were issued by the Madras High Court.
  • The NMC also granted the State entities the authority to discipline medical practitioners who disobey the rule.

The Madras High Court ruling

  • The Madras High Court's decision outlawed any attempt to use medicine to "cure" or "transform" a person's sexual orientation. This includes those who identify as LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or of any other orientation).
  • It pleaded with the government to punish practitioners who engage in conversion therapy in any way.
  • In a court judgment, the National Medical Commission was told to "provide necessary formal notification by enlisting 'Conversion Therapy' as a professional misconduct."
  • According to the court, the District Legal Services Authority should work with law enforcement agencies to provide legal assistance to the community.
  • The court urged organizations to adhere to the letter and spirit of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, and the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020 and demanded that agencies hold sensitization programs in order to fully comprehend the community's requirements.

What is conversion therapy?

  • An intervention to alter a person's sexual orientation or gender identity is known as conversion therapy or reparative therapy.
  • Exorcism, medications, psychological treatment, and even physical assault are all used in an effort to turn the victim into a heterosexual person.
  • The conversion treatment umbrella also covers initiatives to alter a child's fundamental identity if that gender identity conflicts with their sexual anatomy.

Conversion treatment risks

  • Targeting young people: "Reparative" or "conversion" therapy is a risky method that aims to alter the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ youth.
  • Conversion therapy is ineffective at altering a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, and it typically results in considerable, long-term psychological harm for those who undertake it, according to the scientific community.
  • The therapies used in conversion therapy, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), are given under the incorrect assumption that homosexuality and different gender identities are unhealthy.
  • "They are not; the lack of pathology means that conversion or any other similar intervention is not required."
  • Health risks: Additionally, conversion therapy runs the danger of developing or exacerbating mental health disorders like anxiety, stress, and drug use, which can occasionally result in suicide, according to the AACAP and other health professionals.

Challenges faced by Transgender Community

  • Discrimination and ostracism: These people experience discrimination at work, in educational institutions, and in their own homes, which has a negative impact on their general well-being.
  • Identity crisis: Despite the government approving the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, which grants the community the right to self-perceived gender identity, individuals are frequently forced to identify with a gender with which they are not connected at work.
  • Social stigma: They frequently encounter obstacles while trying to adopt a child or inherit property. They are forced into sex work or menial occupations despite having strong credentials since they are socially rejected.
  • Unemployment: Due to the associated societal stigma, the community has few employment options and experiences severe discrimination at work.

Initiatives in India for Transgender People:

  • The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act of 2019 was passed by Parliament with the goal of eradicating discrimination against transgender people in the areas of access to healthcare, work, and education. It also recognizes the right to one's own self-perceived gender identity.
  • Rules for the 2020 protection of rights of transgender persons:

The government drafted it to give effect to the 2019 Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act's provisions.

  • Transgender National Council:

The National Council for Transgender Persons has been established in accordance with the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act of 2019 to provide advice to the Central Government on the formulation and assessment of policies, programs, legislation, and projects for the welfare of the transgender community.

  • Reservations for the transgender community would be made under the OBC category of employment, according to the Union government.

Government of the NCT of Delhi v. Naz Foundation (2009)

  • The Delhi High Court repealed Section 377, making it legal for adults to engage in consenting gay activity.
  • In the Suresh Kumar Koushal Case (2013), the Supreme Court overruled the Delhi High Court's earlier decision, stating that the "plight of sexual minorities" could not be used as justification for determining whether a statute is constitutional.

Union of India v. Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (2017):

  • As a result, the Fundamental Right to Privacy falls under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, according to the Supreme Court. "Sexual orientation is a crucial element of privacy," it was claimed.
  • Many nations throughout the world already forbid conversion therapy on a national level.
  • Brazil: Beginning in 1999, Brazil enacted the world's first conversion therapy prohibition, outlawing the practice in relation to sexual orientation.
  • Ecuador and Malta: A number of nations have enacted legal sanctions against persons who use conversion therapy, including Ecuador in 2014 and Malta in 2016.
  • Germany: In 2020, Germany outlawed conversion therapy for minors and protect adults who were forced, defrauded, or under pressure to undertake conversion therapy.
  • USA: Since 2013, there have been bans of various kinds enacted in 20 states, two territories, and numerous local counties or municipalities throughout the country.

Way ahead

  • For students to have a greater awareness of the community, schools and universities must make modifications to their curricula.
  • Medical textbooks classified homosexuality and lesbianism as "perversions" as recently as 2018. People who identify as having a different sexual orientation or gender frequently recount horrifying stories of bullying, prejudice, stigma, and exclusion.
  • Restrooms that are gender-neutral should be required at educational facilities and other locations.
  • Parents should also be educated because teens who are coerced into choosing "conversion" therapy are frequently the first to experience miscommunication and abuse at home.
  • Adults considering sex reassignment surgery need to receive proper counselling, such as pre & post-operative therapy, but the cost may be out of reach for the average person.

Also, Read - V. O. Chidambaram Pillai

Source: The Hindu

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