Just in time for Pride Month, the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) declassified homosexuality as a mental illness last week.
The IPS was founded in 1929 and has about 3,000 members today. This is the first time the organization has publicly addressed the matter.
IPS president Dr. Ajit Bhide said:
“Certain people are not cut out to be heterosexual and we don’t need to castigate them, we don’t need to punish them, to ostracize them.
IPS chairperson Dr. Kersi Chavda stated:
“This statement is our official stand on homosexuality, that it is not a disease and should not be treated like one. This is the first time we have released an official stand.”
This is a small victory, though. Homosexuality is still illegal in India under Section 377, and conversion therapy is still common. India's Supreme Court is currently reviewing Section 377, and is expected to declare whether or not to uphold it by October.
The law, which describes anal sex as an “unnatural offense” has stood since 1862 as a direct result of British colonization. The law was modeled from the British Empire’s buggery law. Britain decriminalized homosexual acts in 1967.
Breaking the long-standing Indian law can result in a 10-year prison sentence, an equivalent punishment to rape. It’s worth noting that oral sex, even between a man and a woman, is prohibited under the law.
Also, as we reported earlier this week, India’s Central Board of Film Certification has outright banned critical darling Love, Simon because it features a gay lead character.