What are the professions that are most capable of driving change in society? One is teaching. Teachers hold the most power to influence young minds and drive their actions. Then, of course, journalism and cinema. Media and cinema, unarguably, have the ability to influence the entire population.
One change that we desperately seek is the acceptance of homosexuality in India. Many movies, in recent times, have thrown light on this issue, which is considered a sin by many people. The idea of such movies is to sensitize people towards the LGBTQ+ community.
Recently, Madras HC also suggested including it in the school curriculum to educate children about it from a young age. While there is definitely more awareness and acceptance than there was a decade ago, we still have to go a long way.
Many politicians (who also hold power to influence the masses) believe that homosexuality is not a part of our culture and should, thus, be criminalized.
Conversion therapy is prevalent to this very day. People pay ridiculous amounts of money to get the person in question “treated”.
Conversion therapy is a pseudoscientific practice of trying to change the sexual orientation of a person, from gay to straight. Now, who performs such practices? Self-proclaimed babas, religious gurus, and doctors.
Discrimination Towards LGTBQ+ People By The Medical Community
Yes, the very educated faction of our society engages in this very discriminatory practice of conversion therapy, albeit secretly. What they do more publicly is deny treatment to the members of the LGBTQ+ community. Of course, not all doctors. But many of them.
In 2013, a 22-year-old from West Bengal was denied access to first-aid after getting raped and was taunted for her sexual preference.
In 2018, while hearing arguments in the case of Section 377 decriminalization, Justice Indu Malhotra also pointed out this ordeal of the community. How they have to struggle to get access to basic treatment.
It impedes our progress as a nation if the medical community is so inherently biased towards one community for something that is out of their control. It threatens to weaken the very foundation of our democratic spirit, where every citizen has a right to life.
Read More: The Real Reason Why L in LGBTQ+ Comes First
India’s Medical Books To Not Have Homophobic Phrases
To change this scenario, the National Medical Commission (NMC), which is the apex body for medical education and practice in India has made a landmark judgment. The body identified that medical books contain queerphobic language, which shapes the mentality of budding doctors. The NMC said,
It has been noted that the various textbooks of medical education, mainly of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology subject and Psychiatry subject, contain unscientific information about virginity and derogatory remarks against the LGBTQIA+ community
Medical textbooks are biased against homosexuality. If you read forensic medicine textbooks, you will be surprised to see how often those books compare “lesbianism” and “sodomy” to obscenity and perversion, describing them as unnatural.
In 2018, the Medical Council of India reviewed the medical curriculum after more than 2 decades. Stakeholders hoped that the updated syllabus would be more progressive. Unfortunately, that did not happen. But NMC has finally ordered to rectify this.
“Further, all the authors of medical textbooks are hereby instructed to amend the information about virginity, LGBTQA+ community, and homosexuals, etc. in their textbooks according to the available scientific literature, guidelines issued by the government, and directions passed by the hon’ble courts,” noted the NMC.
A much-needed move, we hope that this inspires other courses as well. Changes in education are a fundamental step to change the mentality of people towards homosexuality in India.
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This post is tagged under: homophobia, queerphobic, LGBTQIA+, LGBTQ community, pride, pride flag, pride month, healthcare, access to first-aid, medical community, national medical commission, doctors, nurses, professionals, medical career, forensic books, toxicology books, medical books, queerphobic medical community, conversion therapy, human rights