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HC bans ‘cure’ for LGBTIQA+ members/ 2021
The Madras high court suggested a ban on health professionals from attempting to medically ‘cure or change’ the sexual orientation of LGBTIQA+ people to heterosexual or the gender identity of transgender people to cisgender. The court also directed National Medical Commission, Indian Psychiatric Society and Rehabilitation Council of India to take action, including withdrawal of licence to practise, against professionals involved in any form or method of conversion “therapy” to LGBTIQA+ members.
Justice N Anand Venkatesh laid down a slew of guidelines covering issues ranging from gender-neutral restrooms for the gender-nonconforming student and help to change name/gender on academic records for transgender persons, besides suggesting separate jails for transsexuals.
These are among directives issued by Justice Anand Venkatesh, who chose to undergo ‘psycho-education’ under qualified counsellors to understand same-sex relationship issues, before writing the verdict.
Duo moved HC to restrain police from harassing them
The case relates to a Madurai-based lesbian couple, aged 23 and 20 years, who chose to live as a married couple. Facing resistance from their families, they fled to Chennai and took refuge with an NGO. As police continued to visit them following complaints lodged by their parents, the two had moved the HC to restrain cops from harassing them.
Justice Anand Venkatesh said: “The voice of this community is now getting louder and stronger and society can no more turn a deaf ear and the time has come to make that change.” Noting that he himself was “pulled out of darkness (ignorance)” by two counsellors, he said: “The society and my upbringing have always treated the terms ‘homosexual’, ‘gay’, ‘lesbian’ as anathema.”
The court has directed the Centre to organise sensitisation programme for judiciary, police, public servants, health professionals and parents of LGBTIQA+ persons. The matter has been adjourned to August 31.
HC proposes glossary on LGBTQIA+ for media reports
CHENNAI: In a bid to add dignity to the lives of members of the LGBTQIA+ community, Madras high court has come up with a style sheet -- a standardised glossary -- to be followed by media in their news articles about the community.
Justice N Anand Venkatesh has also requested the media, particularly Tamil media, to adopt the style sheet till the state government comes up with a glossary to be followed by media. “This court wants to make an earnest request to the media to take into consideration the words and expressions mentioned in the glossary, to be used while addressing persons belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community,” the judge said.
If these words and expressions are used regularly, it will become a common practice and that will pave the way for a dignified identity for persons belonging to this community, the court added. “This court reposes confidence in the media that they will seriously consider the request made by this court and start implementing the same henceforth,” the judge said. The issue pertains to a plea moved by a same-sex couple who faced harassment at the hands of police and their parents.
Initially, when the plea came up for hearing, Justice Anand Venkatesh chose to undergo a counselling session, as he felt that lacked understanding of the issues faced by the community. The judge then passed a series of orders touching upon the need to sensitise people, particularly judiciary and police, on the issue. The court also highlighted the need to revamp the medical education curriculum to sensitise medical practitioners.
On December 23, when the plea came up for hearing, advocate S Manuraj, who initially represented the petitioners and now assisting the court, circulated a short note focusing on the standardised guide/prescriptive glossary containing the words and expressions to be used by the press and media while addressing persons belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community. Taking the note on record, the court passed the order.
TN unveils glossary
Chennai:In a first for the nation, Tamil Nadu has issued a government order publishing a glossary of Tamil terms to address LGBTQIA+ community members. Nudged by the Madras high court to do so, the government has also made it mandatory for all forums, including the media, to address them only by using the specific terms published in the gazette.
The order dated August 20 was passed following a suggestion made by Justice N Anand Venkatesh to address persons belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community with due dignity. The suggestion was made during the hearing of a plea moved by a lesbian couple alleging police harassment.
When the plea came up for hearing, counsel for the state produced a copy of the order issued by the social welfare and women empowerment department in the court.
“It is made clear that all concerned, including the press, must take note of the notification published in the gazette on August 20 and address persons belonging to LGBTQIA+ community by using only the notified terms wherever required,” said Justice Anand Venkatesh, recording the order.
The judge directed the state to file a status report and adjourned the hearing to September 2.