Petition by Queerala to Ban Conversion Therapy at Kerala High Court

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A petition seeking a ban on conversion therapy has been filed at the Kerala High Court by Queerala. Conversion therapy is a pseudo-science and inhumane practice which falsely claim to “cure” individuals out of their queerness. The conversation around conversion therapy came into the spotlight when the tragic news of death by suicide of Anjana Harish surfaced. Harish, a 21-year-old bisexual woman, had posted videos online, where she detailed the torture and trauma she faced in the conversion therapy centres.  It has been five months since that tragic incident.

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The Menace of Conversion Therapy

Queerala, an organisation that advocates for the rights of LGBTQIA members have filed a petition in the Kerala High Court. The petition seeks a ban on conversion therapy in the State. Rajashree, a board member of Queerala, spoke to SheThePeople.Tv about the conversion therapy and the motivation behind filing the petition. “It was really shocking for us. Since there is no law in place we didn’t know what to do about it. That’s when we decided to send a complaint to the Kerala State Mental Health Authority but there was no response from them. We waited for three months, that’s when we started working on this petition. It’s high time”.

Rajashree further notes, “One weapon the families use is threaten them to send them to conversion therapy centers. it is not called that but psychiatrists and psychologists say that they can cure this because it is a disease. They don’t advertise it now because the Mental Health Act has made it illegal. So it is not advertised but they practice it. There have been multiple cases like this”.

Why It Matters?

The illegal practice of conversion therapy is still being reportedly used to target individuals who do belong to the LGBTQIA community. It is used against them to hinder their expression of gender and sexuality. Practices such as these show that queerphobia, transphobia and homophobia is real and impacts the lives of queer people, sometimes even ending it. The petition in the Kerala High Court is a much-needed step in the right direction. A ban on conversion therapy allows for queer people to take legal action against their perpetrators if they are ever forced or even threatened for conversion therapy. The hearing of this petition is on 28th October 2020.

Priyanka Chakrabarty is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv The views expresses are the author’s own.

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