Indian doctor faces court for practicing conversion therapy
A court in India has summoned a doctor after it was discovered that he was practicing conversion therapy on gay men and lesbians.
Dr. PK Gupta was summoned by the Delhi High Court for claiming that he could “treat” gay men and lesbians using electric shocks.
He also said homosexuality was a “genetic mental disorder” and told patients that they could be cured, according to Outlook India.
The court summoned Gupta after a complaint was made against him by the Delhi Medical Council (DMC), who barred him from practicing in 2016.
Despite this, he continued practicing medicine, which makes him liable for prosecution.
The doctor could face a one year jail term if he is found to be in contravention of a provision in the Indian Medical Council Act.
In a statement, the magistrate said that the legislature does not see gay men and lesbians as being mentally ill.
“Accordingly, it is clear that the treatment given by doctors as a part of ‘conversion therapy’ is not recognised either by the medicine or by the legislation,” they said, according to Outlook India.
In the summons, the court also discussed the Supreme Court’s decision in September to decriminalise homosexuality.
Homosexuality was finally decriminalised in India in September in a momentous ruling by the country’s high court.
The five judges of the Supreme Court were unanimous in their decision to overturn the ban on consensual same-sex relations, which were previously punishable by a sentence of up to life in prison.
The law, made under British colonial rule, banned sexual activity “against the order of nature,” including with another man or woman.
UK LGBT+ charity Stonewall defines conversion therapy as “any form of treatment or psychotherapy which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or to suppress a person’s gender identity.”
Stonewall also notes that all major counselling and psychotherapy bodies in the UK have concluded that conversion therapy is dangerous.
A 2009 survey of over 1,300 accredited mental health professionals found that more than 200 had offered some form of conversion therapy.
Despite the harm conversion therapy causes, it continues to be legal in many countries across the world.
Film depictions of conversion therapy
Conversion therapy has been making headlines recently as two high-profile films have recently been made about the practice.
More from PinkNews
Boy Erased and The Miseducation of Cameron Post have both made waves for their powerful depictions of conversion therapy.
Troye Sivan, who stars in Boy Erased, called conversion therapy “dangerous, hurtful and obviously ineffective” last month.
Chloe Grace Moretz, who stars in The Miseducation of Cameron Post, told PinkNews in September that she had been “unaware of the modernity of the issue” before doing the film.
“It’s a silent epidemic that, now more than ever, especially under our administration, is growing in traction.”
Moretz also said that her experience of filming the teen drama has led her to activism.