Tamil Nadu is the first state in India to ban conversion therapy.

This procedure offers to change the sexual orientation of LGBT people. It is prevalent in hospitals as well as religious institutions. Underlining that sexual autonomy is an essential aspect of the right to privacy; the Madras High Court on Monday ordered the state government and Central authorities to prepare plans of comprehensive reforms aimed at respecting the rights of LGBTIQA+ persons.

The order comes in the run-up to a hearing in a case filed by a same-sex couple in which they accused the police of subjecting them to harassment after their parents, who opposed their relationship, filed a missing person complaint. The two had fled their homes in Madurai to live in Chennai. After their families filed the complaints, an FIR was registered against them and they were questioned by the police. The petitioners had moved the Madras HC seeking protection against police harassment and from any threat to their safety.

Activists and those belonging to the community have hailed the HC order as a major step towards equality for the marginalised groups.

Justice N Anand Venkatesh ruled in favour of the lesbian couple. Before preparing the verdict, he had asked a psychologist for information about homosexual relations as he described himself as not “fully woke”. He maintained that he belongs to the majority part of the country who are “yet to comprehend homosexuality completely.”

The ruling went far beyond the narrow terms of the case. Issuing the order, the court said the licenses of professionals involved in any form of conversion therapy should be cancelled. He also issued other far-reaching guidelines like seeking changes in school and university curricula and conducting awareness programmes for judicial officers, police, and prison officials. The HC has asked the state and Central government departments to report with steps they intend to follow.

Source: https://www.news18.com/news/india/madras-high-court-bans-cure-for-sexual-orientation-3823721.html

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