Updated: October 15, 2021 2:47:51 pm
Following a Madras High Court observation last month on medical courses in India reaffirming queer-phobia and a need for changing this, the National Medical Commission recently directed all medical colleges to remove any “unscientific” and “derogatory” remarks about the LGBTQIA+ community.
“It has been noted that the various textbooks of medical education mainly of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology subject and Psychiatry subject contains unscientific information about virginity and also contains derogatory remarks against LGBTQIA+ Community and homosexuals,” the NMC order reads.
“In this connection, all the Medical Universities/Colleges/Institutions are requested that while teaching UG & PG students wherever the issue of gender or similar kind arise, the mention of Clinical history or complaints or signs/symptoms, examination findings or history about nomenclature shall not be taught in such a way that it becomes/perceived in any way derogatory/discriminatory/ insulting to LGBTQIA+ community,” it added.
The NMC also asked all the authors to “amend the information about virginity, LGBTQIA+ Community and homosexuals” in their textbooks according to the available scientific literature, guidelines issued by the Government, and directions passed by the Madras High Court.
All the Medical Universities/Colleges/Institutions have also been instructed to reject textbooks that have “unscientific, derogatory, and discriminatory information about virginity, LGBTQIA+ Community, and homosexuals.”
In a judgment last month, Justice Anand Venkatesan had said that medical courses in India reaffirm queerphobia and discrimination against LGBTQIA+ communities and called for necessary changes to the medical curriculum. Venkatesan had also directed the police department to refrain from harassing activists and those belonging to NGOs working for the LGBTQ+ individuals, and not just the people who belong to the community. Justice N Anand Venkatesh gave the direction while hearing a plea filed by a lesbian couple in Chennai who had left Madurai to live together.
In June 2021, underlining that sexual autonomy is an essential aspect of the right to privacy, the Madras High Court issued far-reaching guidelines aimed at mainstreaming LGBTIQA+ persons — from prohibiting attempts to “medically cure” persons belonging to the community to seeking changes in school and university curricula and recommending awareness programmes for judicial officers, police and prison officials.
Saying LGBTQIA+ persons are entitled to their privacy and “have a right to lead a dignified existence, which includes their choice of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender presentation, gender expression and choice of partner thereof”, the court had said, “This right and the manner of its exercise are constitutionally protected under Article 21 of the Constitution.”
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