Dangerous practices that seek to "cure" LGBTIQ people are still silently happening in India, leaving victims with permanent physical and mental trauma. Now there’s an opportunity to ban them in India – but we need your help.
The harmful practice of “conversion therapy” continues to exist in India.
In 2020, Anjana Hareesh, a 21-year-old student from Kerala, India, died by suicide after her family forced her to undergo “conversion therapy” for months owing to her sexual orientation.
Like Hareesh, many members of the LGBTIQ community in India have been victims of harmful “conversion therapy”, which continues to be practised by both medical practitioners as well as other individuals such as faith-based institutions.
“Conversion therapy” is used as an umbrella term to describe interventions of a wide-ranging nature, all of which have in common the belief that a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) can and should be changed.
These are deeply harmful interventions that rely on the medically false idea that LGBTIQ persons are sick, inflicting severe pain and suffering, and resulting in long-lasting psychological and physical damage.
It can involve spiritual intervention through religious institutions, and/or psychotherapy, medication, hormonal or electroshock therapy. More extreme forms include exorcisms, forced isolation and confinement, physical assault, ‘corrective rape,’ and food deprivation.
“Conversion therapy” can cause serious consequences for those who are exposed, including increased risk of self-harm, depression, anxiety, shame, suicide attempts, loss of faith as well as long-lasting physical and mental trauma.
Perpetrators of “conversion therapy” practices include private and public mental health-care providers, faith-based organizations, traditional healers and State agents; promoters additionally include family and community members, political authorities and other agents.
In 2020, the UN Independent Expert on SOGI, called for a global ban on “conversion therapy” and noted that countries need to urgently carry out measures against it, especially to protect children and young people.
“Conversion therapy practices inflict severe pain and suffering on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender-diverse (LGBT) persons, often resulting in long-lasting psychological and physical damage,” and “such practices constitute an egregious violation of rights to bodily autonomy, health, and free expression of one's sexual orientation and gender identity”
But now, India has a chance to put an end to this, once and for all!
In 2022, the National Medical Commission of India has declared “conversion therapy” a “professional misconduct”. This decision however applies only to registered medical practitioners and therefore provides limited protection from abuse, thus leaving the door open for religious institutions, family members and others to continue subjecting LGBTIQ people to harmful “conversion therapy” practices.
Sign now, to demand a comprehensive ban on “conversion therapy” in India.
To watch personal testimonies of a conversion therapy survivors from India, click here and here.
This campaign is run by ILGA Asia together with Yugantar, TransRightsNow Collective and Sahodaran Chennai.