The National Medical Commission has ruled that the use of conversion therapy in India is to be outlawed, which is another positive development for the LGBTQ (or, to be more precise, LGBTQIA+) population. Doctors have been cautioned by the Commission that providing conversion therapy to any community member will be considered “professional misconduct.”
Conversion therapy is frequently used on LGBTIA+ people, especially young people. The LGBTIA+ community includes those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and/or any other sexual orientation. Conversion therapy, which has been outlawed in many nations including Canada due to its unscientific nature, is simply an effort to alter a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Conversion therapy can include any of these, including psychiatric care, electroshock therapy, exorcism, violence, or the use of psychosomatic medications, which can result in trauma, sadness, anxiety, drug usage, or even suicidal thoughts.
Conversion therapy is still provided by a number of professionals worldwide, including in India.
The Madras High Court announced that it was giving instructions to the police, and social welfare ministries of the State and Centre after the Supreme Court repealed Section 377 and decriminalized homosexuality in India in 2018, in another historic judgment in July. And the medical council for the LGBTQIA+ community’s protection. According to the same ruling, the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, which govern medical education and practitioners, the NMC, in a hearing on September 2, 2022, outlawed the practice. The Commission informed the High Court on August 25 that it had given notice to the state medical councils.
The steps that will be taken against the psychiatrists and doctors suspected of providing such conversions and the penalties they may receive, however, need to be made clearer.
In February, the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) received a letter from radiologist Dr. Prasad Dandekar, the head of the Health Professionals for Queer Indians (HPQI), which educates medical professionals about the needs of the LGBTQ community. He was complaining about one of society’s members who was advocating conversion therapy. The IPS member Dr. Deepak Kelkar had claimed that homosexuality was a condition that could be treated within various therapies, such as conversion therapy, in a now-deleted social media post. Despite removing the video in response to Dandekar’s legal letter, no further action has yet been taken.