Let us just talk reality here!
When your friend, brother, sister or let it be any body you know tells you that they are Queer and are part of the LGBT; what would be your reaction?
“Yaay! I am excited for you. You have my full support.”
“Can you be my gay best friend? Can I take you shopping.”
“Dude… What will your parents say?”
“Is the sex good? Is that the reason you want to be it?”
Just stop. These are not what you should be saying. Everyone is born perfect. When today you can fight for racism and casteism, why can you not fight for genderism? That’s right, this word does exist. It is time that we just nod our heads when someone says that they are homosexual. Just like you accept what they eat or wear or how they look does not matter to you, their sexuality also is something they do not want your opinion on!
What is conversion Therapy?
Conversion Therapy also known as reparative therapy is the ‘so called’ falsely claimed treatment for Homosexuality. Conversion therapy promises to ‘cure’ or ‘change’ a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Conversion Therapies are not backed by any mainstream medical organisations or hospitals. Psychological clinics that work individually still continue to have a biased opinion and discriminate the LGBTQ+ community. Conversion therapies include Counselling, Medications, Hypnotizing treatments, Hormone dosage and extreme methods of Electro-Conclusive therapy. Apart from these ‘clinical treatments’ there are also a list that is made by religious gurus.
The Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists (IACP) in an official statement issued on May 21 2020, called ‘Conversion Therapy’ a ‘dangerously harmful,’ ‘discredited,’ ‘painful and traumatising unprofessional practice.’ The Supreme Court’s judgement in the case of Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India also discouraged “conversion therapy.” It is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of India in 2018 that decriminalised all consensual sex among adults, including homosexual sex. The court stated that nobody could be forced to undergo any form of medical or psychological treatment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Though Article 377 is abrogated in India, Homophobia still exists in many forms. In the form of sexism, religionism and even in form of lifestyle, India still has not completely accepted Homosexuality. The questions that rise from the Gen Z is that, when there is so much proof for India being the country that had Homosexuality in their past, why is it hard from them to just accept it now?
Here are a few stories from the people in India, who were forced into conversion therapy.
Niranjan, 25 years
I came out as Gay when I was 25 years old. My family is not very orthodox but they still follow traditions. When I first came out to my parents, my mother accepted that it was normal and she even went on to say that it is not necessary to get married. But it did not last long. She used to visit her therapist quite often. When she mentioned about me to the doctor, the psychiatrist went on to say that it is curable through therapy and made my parents believe that conversion therapy is possible. My mother suggested that we go and meet Dr. Moni, it was the same doctor who was involved with the conversion therapy of Anjana Harish. You know there was drama at my house here and then after I came out, so to avoid it, I agreed to go and meet him.The doctor told me that no such things as homosexuality exists and then he suggested that I go to a rehabilitation centre for the treatment.
When I denied that I would not be undergoing therapy, my mother forced me to just meet her doctor for once. I went on with it because I believed that I could find a doctor who could have openly told my parents that it is okay to be who I am. But I did not find any. We then went to meet Dr. Srinivasan. As a patient-doctor confidentiality, I told him that I had been interested in men from a young age and that I would not agree for a conversion therapy or any sorts of treatment. The doctor went on and told my parents that I denied the treatment though there were possibilities to ‘change me’ through therapies. This doctor even had posters outside his clinic that stated that he was successful in conversion therapies.
Again, a few days later when my parents came to know about what happened with Anjana Harish, they understood conversion therapy is not right and that I should not be forced to undergo a treatment. Something that I want to say is that, these conversion therapies only mentally drown us. Even when we get the support from our friends or make our family understand, it is these clinics that want to run conversion therapies just for the sake of earning money create a lot of trouble.
Vikraman, 27 years
I want to tell everybody from the community that whatever the outcome may be please tell people who you are. I have been hiding it all my life and I really do not feel good about it. Every time I think about my sexuality I think that I shouldn’t be hiding about it. I have hidden it because once when I tried to talk about my sexuality to my own doctor, he said, “Don’t tell me you are one of those who supports Homosexuality. No such thing exists like that.” I wanted to tell him that he was wrong and that it is real and it exists right in front of his eyes. I gradually time to time tell him that it is okay for one to choose their sexuality, but eventually he shut me down by telling me that it was disgusting. He discreetly told me that if I ever wanted more sessions for a less amount of money, I could be one of his agents who could bring him patients for conversion therapies. Though I eventually changed my doctor, I am still scared to come out to anyone.
Dharini, 33 years old
I myself as a consultant tried to conduct a lot of seminars and webinars to my fellow colleagues and other practitioners that we should support the LGBT community. I mean, I have been trying to do so myself. It was not long ago that I came out, but there have been scars from my childhood and from the time I was married to a man.Though I indicated that I was not interested in men sexually, it was not elaborate enough for them to understand. People bad mouthed that I got a divorce because I did not want a child. All these could have been avoided, if I had just told them that I like women and not men.
Though my conventions are filled with doctors against conversion therapies, there a few who want to satisfy the patient’s family or parents go a step further to do something they should not be doing. You know being in India is one of the reasons that family or the patient’s kin get involved. There is no such thing as private even one turn to be an adult. Yes, we have the oath to maintain doctor-patient discretion, but, the doctors take emotions into place of the family and make a mistake. Conversion therapies should not be encouraged anywhere in the world. Who are we to tell someone whom they should be with? When there are protests held for honour killings and casteism, why are not everybody coming forward when it comes to supporting a queer? What is different here? It is the same love, same marriage we are insisting. Many western countries have banned conversion therapy, but India has not outrightly said that it is a crime and this is making the practitioners perform conversion therapies.