India: no homosexuals hereBMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7507.57 (Published 30 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:57
- Balaji Ravichandran (firstname.lastname@example.org), second year medical student
- Madras Medical College, Chennai, India
That homosexuality is still a criminal offence under section 377 of India's penal code is a sad reality. Perhaps what is even more sad is that many if not most Indian medical educators, including practising doctors, are homophobic and believe that homosexuality is a mental deviation that needs treatment.
In my sophomore year much teaching focused on the effect of HIV and AIDS on the health of Indians. I was shocked when my professor declared, “In Western countries, it primarily spreads among homosexuals. Of course, in our country, we don't have any homosexuals.” I protested, declaring that homosexuality is very much prevalent in our country. He was indifferent, and my colleagues were annoyed.
Sexuality in general is a big taboo in India
Later I approached the professor and asked him what he thought of homosexual people. He declared his belief that there is no such thing as homosexuality and that it was a US invention. To see if this was echoed by others I tried …