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India’s biggest psychiatric body declares homosexuality is not an illness

India’s biggest psychiatric body declares homosexuality is not an illness


The Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) has declared that ‘homosexuality should not be treated as an illness’.

The IPS is India’s largest body of mental health professionals with about 3,000 members. It issued the new policy this week. The IPS set up a special task force in 2016 to examine the emotional needs of LGBTI people.

IPS’ president, Dr Ajit Bhide confirmed the news in a video on social media.

‘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,’ he said in the video.

‘It is a step in the right direction… whatever your sexual orientation, whatever your sexual preference, as long as there is no other party being hurt, an individual should be allowed to practice.’

Homosexual sex is criminalized under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. LGBTI advocates are hopeful the new  policy will help strengthen the case to end the decriminalization homosexuality.

An LGBTI activist in Mumbai welcomed the policy update even though it was well overdue.

‘It should have been done 20 years, but I am glad they have now come up with it now,’ Vikram Doctor told the Hindustan Times.

‘It (the IPS statement) will be an effective argument in the court to challenge bodies that support criminalization of homosexuality based on religious point of views.’

Many countries have stamped out the belief that homosexuality is a mental illness.

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association made history when it declared homosexuality was not a mental illness or sickness.

The World Health Organization (WHO) followed suit in 1992.

Watch the IPS statement: