Marking a positive shift in awareness towards the LGBTQ community in India, Madras High Court on Monday banned medical attempts to cure or attempt to change people’s sexual orientation, in a bid to eliminate prejudice against the community LGBTQIA +. Hearing the plea of ââa lesbian couple seeking the protection of their loved ones, the High Court suggested adopting comprehensive measures to ensure that the LGBTQ community is part of mainstream society.
The judgment was rendered by Judge N Anand Venkatesh who had attended an educational session with a psychologist to understand homosexual relationships before issuing the order. Enacting his order, Justice Venkatesh spearheaded several reforms in educational institutions, including holding meetings of the Parents Teacher Association (PTA) to educate parents on issues of the LGBTQ community and gender nonconforming students as well as changes in the school curriculum.
Apart from this, the Madras HC has run educational institutions:
- To include gender-neutral toilets
- Change of name and gender on school records of transgender people
- Inclusion of âtransgenderâ in addition to gender columns H and F in application forms
- Appointment of advisors who are LGBTQ included, for staff and students to deal with grievances.
Admitting his “preconceived notions” on homosexual relations, Judge Anand Venkatesh, in his judgment following his educational session to understand the LGBTQ community, declared: “I do not hesitate to accept that I too belong to the majority of common people who are still to fully understand homosexuality … Society and my education have always treated the terms “homosexual”, “gay”, “lesbian” as anathema. A majority of society would find itself in the same position of ignorance and preconceived notions. ”
Action against those who practice “conversion therapy”
In their petition, the lesbian couple who had fled their home in Chennai had requested protection from police harassment at the request of their parents. To counter the same, Judge Venkatesh ordered the police and prison authorities to organize programs at regular intervals on measures to be taken for the protection and prevention of offenses against the LGBTQ community, adding that programs aimed at sensitizing officials to the legal rights of the community should also be held at regular intervals.
Significantly, the High Court ordered that mental health camps and awareness programs be held to understand gender, sexuality, sexual orientation and promote acceptance of diversity. The judgment established that the action will be brought against the healthcare professional concerned who becomes involved in any form or method of “conversion therapy”, which includes the revocation of his license to practice.
“The police, upon receipt of any complaint concerning cases of disappearance of a girl / woman / man who, after investigation, involve consenting adults belonging to the LGBTQIA + community, must, upon receipt of their statements, close the complaint without submitting them. no harassment. The command reads.
Delhi HC adjourns gay marriage plea
In another case, Delhi’s High Court adjourned earlier this month on plea for same-sex marriages until July 6 after the Center requested an adjournment indicating that the government was now focusing on COVID issues. The advocacy seeks recognition of same-sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act, the Special Marriage Act and the Foreign Marriage Act.
In its February counter-affidavit, the Center said: âRelationships can only be governed, regulated, authorized or proscribed by legislation passed by the competent legislature. The acceptance of the institution of marriage between two persons of the same sex is neither recognized nor accepted in any uncodified personal law or any codified statutory law â. Center also said the 2018 Supreme Court verdict simply “decriminalized particular human behavior”, not “legitimizes the conduct in question.”