DCW on Saturday issued a notice to National Medical Commission to seek action against illegal conversion therapy training for the LGBTQI+ community being advertised under the banner of World Congress of Psychologists’.
The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) said it has taken suo moto cognisance of an advertisement circulating on social media that claims that an organisation called the ‘World Congress of Psychologists’ with its Head Office at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh is conducting a three-month training programme on Psychosomatic Disorders, starting March 10.
The organisation appears to have offered training on tackling 47 different disorders, and has included homosexuality, lesbianism and transvestism in the same, it noted. It is an established fact that homosexuality, lesbianism and transvestism are not ‘psychosomatic disorders’, the panel said.
Over 50 years ago, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) issued a resolution stating that homosexuality is not a mental illness or sickness. Conversion therapies are a set of pseudo-scientific practices, targeting the LGBTIQA+ (An acronym that stands for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual people) into changing their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
The panel cited the 2021 judgment passed by the Madras High Court which said any attempts to medically “cure” or change the sexual orientation of LGBTIQA+ people to heterosexual or the gender identity of transgender people to cisgender is prohibited.
The court has also directed the National Medical Commission, Indian Psychiatric Society and The Rehabilitation Council of India to take action against the concerned professional involving themselves in any form or method of conversion “therapy” including withdrawal of license to practice, it said.
Following the order, the National Medical Commission (NMC) declared conversion therapy as illegal and considers it in the category of ‘Professional Misconduct’ and has banned the practice under the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, it added.
The panel noted that despite these judgements, it was unfortunate that conversion therapy is still prevalent and such programmes seem to be organised and advertised.
DCW has issued a notice to the chairman of the National Medical Commission and has sought a copy of the enquiry report in the matter. The Commission has asked whether the program is being conducted or was conducted in the past and if so, details of action taken against the organisation, its office bearers and trainers as well as whether their licenses have been revoked.
The Commission has also asked for a copy of the guidelines or advisories issued by the National Medical Commission banning conversion therapy of LGBTQIA+ persons.
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