Ten students at a school in India were each forced to write a ‘confession’ letter admitting they were a lesbian.
The Kamala Girls’ School in south Kolkata in West India has come under fire the unusual practice.
On 8 March the girls were hauled into the acting headmistresses’ office after other students accused them of indulging in ‘such behaviour’.
‘We called those students and they admitted it. Considering the sensitive nature of the issue, I asked them to admit it in writing. I have got written admissions from all 10 students, acting headmistress Sikha Sarkar told IANS.
Another teacher at the school said the punishment had been blown out of proportion. The official made the comment anonymously after the students’ angry parents stormed into the Sarkar’s office.
‘It was a simple act of disciplining the students. They were being naughty in class so they were called into the office of the headmistress and were made to sign a confession,’ the unnamed school offical told The Indian Express.
‘The parents were called to sort out the matter and have a discussion but they overreacted saying their girls were forced to sign it… We have given back the signed letters to the parents.’
Sappho speaks out
But a leading LGBTI organization has condemned the bizarre punishment. Sappho for Equality – The Activist Forum For Lesbian, Bisexual Woman and Transman Rights plans to investigate the incident.
‘What happened with those girls is abhorrent,’ Sappho for Equality’s cofounder, Malobika, told the Indian Express.
‘Not only were they singled out on the basis of a few complaints, which could very well have been pranks, I don’t understand what purpose did the whole exercise serve? Are students in co-ed schools asked to write a confession about their heterosexuality when they are seen spending time together?’
Previous students of the school told local media the school disapproved of ‘intense friendships between girls’ and the school’s atmosphere was ‘oppressive’.
It is not the first time an Indian school has punished female students after suspecting they were lesbian.
Last year a university student was asked to move out of the student dorms for showing ‘homosexual tendencies’. And a nursing school in southern India does not allow female students to lock their dorm rooms to prevent lesbian sex.