The National Medical Commission has issued an advisory pertaining to misinformation about and derogatory references to members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual+ (LGBTQIA+) community in medical textbooks.
The advisory dated October 13, flows from a June 7 judgment passed by Justice Venkatesh of the Madras High Court. That 104-page judgement had established a landmark approach towards addressing the social issue of acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community. It has also laid out some guidelines that could help shape the attitude of government authorities / public servants when dealing with the members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
The October 13 advisory says, “It has been noted that the various textbooks of medical education, mainly for Forensic Medicine & Toxicology subject and Psychiatry subject contains unscientific information about virginity and also contain derogatory remarks against LGBTQIA+ Community and Homosexuals.”
The advisory forbids Medical Colleges and Universities from teaching subjects related to gender and sexuality in a derogatory/discriminatory/insulting manner. It further instructs authors to amend the textbooks according to “available scientific literature, guidelines issued by the Government, and directions passed by the Hon’ble Courts.”
The entire advisory may be read here:
This showcases the NMC's "walk-the-talk" approach to creating a sustainable safe-space for sexual minorities in India. An estimated 5 percent of the population falls in the LGBTQIA+ bracket, and stigma has often prevented them from getting quality medical attention and mental health support.
This advisory, if followed in letter and spirit, will not only help clear-up doubts and fears about the community among medical professionals, but more importantly allow LGBTQIA+ persons to get correct medical attention. This also has far-reaching repercussions for the transgender and intersex communities, who were dealt a body-blow by the ignorant provisions of the Transgender Bill, that not only failed to distinguish between the concepts of sex, gender and sexuality, but also failed to respect one's say in the determination of their gender idenity and expression.
Courtesy: Sabrang India