What is Queerphobia? It is a term that includes all kinds of phobias concerning the LGBTQ+ community. All forms of homophobia, lesbophobia, biphobia, and transphobia are included. People who feel strong hatred or fear for people belonging to these communities are regarded as Queerphobic.
Queerythm and Disha, two NGOs filed a petition that was heard by Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly in Kerala on Tuesday. The NGOs that have been working to promote the welfare of the queer community said that the representation of the community in MBBS textbooks is highly misleading and derogatory.
As the Supreme Court has decriminalized homosexuality and homosexual sex between consenting adults, it is an infringement of the rights of individuals to portray the community in such a negative light.
It has been 3 years since this historical event and Kerala HC thinks that it is a ‘’serious issue’’ that the books, meant to impart unbiased knowledge are still following a backward approach.LGBTQIA+ people’s rights under Articles 14, 17, 19, and 21 of the constitution here are being violated.
After addressing the petitioners, the Kerala High Court asked the Undergraduate Medical Education Board to review. The Kerala University of Health Sciences on the other hand has been asked to provide comments and remarks about the allegations. The NGOs believe that concerning the LGBTQ+ community, the textbooks consider them inhumane.
They are complying with the stereotypes and referring to the community with the offense, mental disorder, or perversion. The group of petitioners have been very vigilant and pointed out various references.
A discriminatory remark said, “they consist of a group of people suffering from a mental disorder, perversion and flaunting such identity is an offense”.The court provided the authorities 8 weeks to undergo a thorough review process.
Since such a curriculum is refraining the country from being broad-minded and inclusive, the population that identifies with the community is likely to feel scared. Being unable to express their identities, the people may suffer from mental disorders as social stigma very well triggers negative feelings.
It is important to note that queerphobic ideas if propagated amongst medical professionals, the people who wish to have conversion therapies or seek any help regarding their sexual identity will not have positive support.
The lack of sensitivity for the community can create a vicious cycle of unacceptance. The Hindustan Times reported that because of the fear of being victimized due to the stigma attached to being queer, many people from the community are scared to reveal their identity, even in medical fields’’.
Dhanya Rajendran in a tweet said, ‘’Imagine the textbooks have labeled ‘homosexuality and lesbianism’ under ‘un-natural sexual offense, sexual perversion, and paraphilia’.’’ A member of Kerala’s Transgender Justice Board Syma S, said, “We have set up a research desk to find out such discriminatory contents in the curriculum.
Despite many verdicts and new measures, the attitude towards the community is changing very slowly. We have to speed up the pace.”
Back in 2018, the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine published a study entitled ‘Attitude of Indian Medical Students Towards Homosexuality’. Alarming statistics conveyed that:-
- 15.9% of respondents believed that homosexuality was an illness.
- 24.8% considered homosexuals as neurotic.
- 28.1% considered homosexuals as promiscuous.
- 8.2% thought that they posed a danger to children.
Two decades ago while completing her graduate studies Dr. Sameera Mahamud Jahagirdar was shocked to see the description of homosexuals.“Lesbianism”, “sodomy” and “transgenderism” were all linked to sexual deviation. In 2018 she expressed that even though the curriculum tried to alter, it still didn’t do justice to the community.
The plea from Kerala is not old. Earlier this year in May many students from various medical colleges campaigned against the book authored by Dr. P C Ignatius, the Forensic Medicine head of Government Medical College Palakkad.The book called homosexuality unnatural. After a conversation between the professor and the SFI unit, it was decided that corrections will be made.
It is evident that changes do happen, but the velocity is slow. What population of youth must we lose to queerphobic society through suicide to understand that it is very dangerous to hold an opinion like such? For the country to develop with equity and modernization, queerphobic attitudes must be eliminated.