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DCW asks NMC to take action against illegal training on conversion therapy for LGBTQIA+ community

New Delhi: The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has issued a notice to the National Medical Commission (NMC) seeking action against illegal training on conversion therapy for the LGBTQIA+ community being advertised under the banner of 'World Congress of Psychologists', said an official release.
DCW has taken suo moto cognizance of an advertisement circulating on social media that claims that an organisation called the 'World Congress of Psychologists' with its Head Office at Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh is conducting a three-month Training Program on Psychosomatic Disorders which started on the 10th of March. The organisation appears to have offered training on tackling 47 different disorders and has included homosexuality, lesbianism and transvestism in the same, the DCW release said.
It is an established fact that homosexuality, lesbianism and transvestism are not 'psychosomatic disorders. Over 50 years ago, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) issued a resolution stating that homosexuality is not a mental illness or sickness, it said.
DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal stated, "It is unfortunate that even in this age, there appears to be organizations in the country who seem to claim that homosexuality, lesbianism and transvestism are 'psychosomatic disorders' and need to be "cured" through conversion therapy."
"This is illegal and perpetuates myths, biases and discrimination in society against the LGBTQIA+ community. Every individual has a right to express their self-identified gender and choose their sexual orientation. The Supreme Court has guaranteed these rights. Stringent action should be taken against organisations who indulge in such criminal acts," she added.
Conversion therapies are a set of pseudo-scientific practices, targeting LGBTQIA+ people into changing their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, read the release.
In a judgment passed by the Hon'ble Madras High Court, any attempts to medically "cure" or change the sexual orientation of LGBTQIA+ people to heterosexual or the gender identity of transgender people to cisgender is prohibited, it said.
The high court 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, the release said.
Pursuant to this order, the National Medical Commission (NMC) declared conversion therapy 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.
In the case of National Legal Services Authority vs Union of India and Ors. W. P (Civil) 400 of 2012, it was stated that gender identity is an important aspect of personal identity and is inherent to a person, the DCW said.
It was held that transgender persons have the right to express their self-identified gender by way of speech, mannerisms, behaviour, presentation, clothing, etc. The HC also noted that like gender identity, sexual orientation is integral to one's personality, and is a basic aspect of self-determination, dignity and freedom.
The DCW stated that despite these judgements, it is unfortunate that conversion therapy is still prevalent and such programmes as mentioned seem to be organized and advertised.
In this regard, DCW Chief Swati Maliwal has issued a notice to the Chairman of the National Medical Commission and has sought a copy of the enquiry report on 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/ advisories issued by the National Medical Commission banning conversion therapy of LGBTQIA+ persons. (ANI)

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