On Tuesday, the Madras High Court issued a course of action against police harassment and insensitive media reportage concerning matters concerning the LGBTQIA+ community.
The court was hearing a writ case filed by a lesbian couple who wanted to be protected from police harassment. The Court had previously established a slew of guidelines to guarantee that same-sex couples are not harassed by police officials as a result of missing complaints filed by their parents in an earlier order dated June 7, 2021.
Justice Anand Venkatesh with a woeful, remark that, in spite of the Court’s previous orders, police officials continued to harass same-sex couples.
The Court also highlighted that one of the “excuses” given by police authorities for harassing same-sex couples was that no internal circular or notification had been issued by the Department’s higher authorities in this regard.
Justice Venkatesh went on to say that such insensitivity toward LGBTQIA+ people arises from indifference and a lack of knowledge.
The Court also instructed the Advocate General to ensure that police authority are more proactive in providing safety for same-sex couples. The state government has also been directed to work toward the acknowledgement and development of LGBTQ+ people.
Insensitive Press Coverage
Justice Venkatesh further stated that it was high time for media outlets to utilise sensitive and inclusive gender words when reporting on issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community and that phrases steeped in queerphobia must no longer be accepted or entertained.
However, in order to protect press freedom, the Court declined to give any favourable directions on such media reporting. Instead, it emphasised the importance of using discretion while covering such delicate topics.
Medical Textbooks with Homophobic Literature
Medical courses in India reaffirm queerphobia and discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people and call for revisions to the medical curriculum. Various therapeutic approaches used by medical experts to treat transgender people, according to Justice N Anand Venkatesh, are nothing more than types of “conversion therapy” disguised as medical and mental health support.
The counsel standing on behalf of the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority further informed the Court that, in accordance with the Court’s previous orders, 28 District Legal Services Authorities across the State had held legal literacy and legal awareness camps. The counsel further informed the court that a seminar on the “problem of transgenders” would be held across the state in collaboration with the social welfare department.