Gay rights, psychiatric fraternity, and India

The recent past has been turbulent for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people and Gay Rights in India. The Delhi High Court’s landmark judgment in July 2009, which read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, was a major victory. It held that Section 377 to be violative of Articles 21, 14, and 15 of the constitution, as it criminalized consensual sexual acts of adults in private.[1] The judgment struck down a 19th century law, which the police used to threaten and blackmail LGBT people. Violation of the law is punishable by a fine and imprisonment. Subsequently, India’s Supreme Court issued a ruling against human rights by reinstating the law that bans gay sex in 2013.[2] The response from mental health and legal establishment to this manifest bigotry was weak.[3] The hesitancy of the establishment to clearly support LGBT rights exposes their subscription to prevailing societal prejudices. Fortunately, the Supreme Court referred a batch of curative petitions against Section 377, to a five-judge Constitution Bench for an in-depth hearing.[4