‘Conversion therapy’ to alter sexuality of LGBTQIA+ persons declared professional misconduct
The regulatory body for medical professionals, the National Medical Commission, has empowered states to act against those who carry out such practices.
Carrying out “conversion therapies” in an attempt to alter the sexuality of LGBTQIA+ persons will be considered professional misconduct, the National Medical Commission has said, The News Minute reported on Tuesday.
In a letter dated August 25, the country’s regulatory body for medical professionals informed all state medical councils about the decision. In an order passed in July, the Madras High Court had directed the National Medical Commission to issue the notification, the regulatory body said.
Under the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, state medical councils have the power to take action against professional misconduct by medical professionals.
Justice Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court had ordered strict action against those found to be indulging in attempts to “cure or change” sexual orientation of LGBTQIA+ individuals. He was hearing a petition filed by a lesbian couple seeking protection from police harassment and their families, who were against their relationship.
Queer activists and mental health practitioners have long said that “conversion therapies” are unscientific in nature and intent and are rooted in homophobia and transphobia. In a 2020 report, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the United Nations independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, said that such practices include corrective rapes and electroconvulsive shocks.
“About 80% of queer persons undergo it, depending on what you think is conversion practice,” Shruti Chakravarty, chief advisor at the mental-healthcare funding and advocacy agency Mariwala Health Initiative, told Scroll.in.
Also read: The horrors of queer conversion therapy in India
However, imposing regulations on “conversion therapies” by medical professionals might not be enough to stop the practice. The 2020 report by the UN noted that only 40% of the “conversion therapies” are carried out by registered medical practitoners.
The report was submitted to the Madras High Court during the hearing of the petition filed by the lesbian couple.