Medical textbooks still list homosexuality as a disease in India

A third-year med student at New York Medical College is vocal about the need to focus more on LGBTI health

Despite decriminalizing homosexuality last year, medical textbooks in India still list it as a disease.

Dr Sameera Mahamud Jahagirdar made the discovery after reviewing multiple textbooks across the country. She will soon present her findings to the Medical Council of India (MCI).

‘This system is creating a stigma towards LGBTI community. Doctors themselves are teaching wrong concepts which is so negative as the medical study portrays homosexuality as derogatory,’ she told The Times of India.

Jagagirdar is a trans woman herself and was a panellist at the country’s first LGBTI symposium. The symposium looked at issues such as, health and legal rights.

She said the textbooks inaccurate description of homosexuality and gender identity led to confusion among medical students.

‘Until I was 28, I could not realise the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity and I blame it on the textbooks,’ she said.

Ashok Row Kavi, the chairman of India’s leading LGBTI support group, Humsafar Trust was also at the symposium. He said the government needed to reform many laws to achieve equality for LGBTI people.

“This community has no legal and inheritance of property rights. Nothing is mentioned about pension or nomination for LIC for or the same sex partners. These reforms need to be brought in by the government.’

Author: Shannon Power

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