Feels like a personal victory: LGBT community on conversion therapy listed as professional misconduct

Feels like a personal victory: LGBT community on conversion therapy listed as professional misconduct


This feels like a personal victory,” says Nishtha Nishant, 30 after reading about the National Medical Commission (NMC)’s step to enlist conversion therapy as professional misconduct under the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations 2002. NMC issued the notice after Madras high court’s direction. And individuals from the LGBT+ community are elated with the decision.

“In the early days of me transitioning, my mother visited our family doctor and told him about my transition. He instead blamed my mother. I was subjected to the therapy, with my meals being induced with some substance that took a toll on my physical and mental health. This step will save many queer youth in India,” Nishtha, an equal rights activist elaborates.

Nishtha Nishant

“I have heard and read about horrible experiences of people on the internet. It’s clearly a saddening one. But now there’s hope for a better tomorrow. Queer folks have been through a lot. Conversion therapy is a violation of our rights and clearly inhuman. It’s time that these institutions also layout some regulations pro-queer so even the medical professionals adhere to it and help in eradicating various other stigmas associated to homosexuals and trans folks,” shares Suraj Namboodiri, 27.

Suraj Namboodri
Suraj Namboodri

Dr Nirmala Rao, a psychiatrist in Mumbai, admits she gets several such requests from parents. “Parents do request for a conversion therapy. We need to talk to them and educate them and that becomes a major task. It is difficult for a parent to accept that their child has a different orientation. Parents often ask for these therapies due to fear and anxiety, so we need to address those fears,” she elaborates.

While modern science may have been stopped to doing conversion therapy there are several other ways of doing this. A queer entreprenuer Navel Nazareth, 26, recalls his personal experience.

Navel Nazareth
Navel Nazareth

He shares, “I remember being dragged to counselling in my church when I was younger. The person who was conducting the session during my conformation phase, gave us a testimony revealing how he was living a sin as a gay man and was miraculously healed with power of prayers and counselling which lead to him living a normal life. Thought I was young, but those words stayed in my mind for a long time that ‘being gay is a sin’ and with God’s mercy we can all be healed. This led to me questioning my own self as I always considered myself as a sinner because I was attracted to a specific gender which was not considered normal in the society. It took a lot of educating myself to come to consensus with my sexuality and sexual orientation and how is it not wrong.”



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