Kerala High Court On Forced Conversion Therapy: The Kerala High Court has directed the state government to formulate guidelines against the alleged practice of conversion therapy among medical practitioners. The court was hearing a petition that was filed by an LGBTQ+ affiliated organisation and a transgender man in reference to the prevalence of the practice in Kerala.
In the petition, the transgender man alleged that they were forced to go through conversion therapy. To this, high court Justice PV Kunhikrishnan said that if the allegations by the petitioners are true, then “stringent action” needs to be taken.
“According to me, a guideline is necessary in this regard for conversion therapy, if medically it is possible,” said Justice Kunhikrishnan. The petitioners alleged that forced conversion at the instance of the medical practitioners create physical problems for the LGBTQ+ community. They also complained that no guidelines exist, on basis of which action can be taken against such practitioners.
Conversion Therapy is where an individual undergoes or is forced to undergo a procedure to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. According to the United Nations Human Rights Council report, 68 countries across the world practise conversion therapy during which the survivors are subjected to “heinous physical and psychological violence.”
Taking the seriousness of the issue into consideration, Justice Kunhikrishnan directed the State to investigate the matter, with the help of an expert if necessary. Based on this report, the State needs to frame guidelines and produce them in front of the court within 5 months. The next date of hearing is May 18, 2022.
Although this is not the first time that an LGBTQ+ organisation is approaching the Kerala High Court on the conversion therapy issue. In 2020, a petition was filed at the court by Queerala to ban conversion theory. The conversation around this practice came to the spotlight after Anjana Harish, a 21-year-old bisexual woman who posted online the videos of trauma that she went through during the conversion therapy, died by suicide. Read more on that here.