Remove unscientific remarks on queer community from syllabus: Madras HC to med colleges

Following the Madras HC’s orders, the National Medical Commission issued a directive regarding the same to all medical colleges/universities and institutions.
Madras high court buildings
Madras high court buildings

Justice N Anand Venkatesh of Madras High Court has issued orders to the National Medical Commission (NMC) to clean up the medical syllabus under the Central Board of Medical Education (CBME) curriculum and remove any derogatory or unscientific remarks about the LGBTQIA+ community. Justice Anand had earlier this year also issued a landmark judgment to the effect of stopping police harassment of same-sex couples.

Following this, the NMC issued a directive regarding the same to all medical colleges/universities and institutions. “It has been noted that the various textbooks of medical education, mainly of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology subject and Psychiatry subject, contain unscientific information about virginity and derogatory remarks against the LGBTQIA+ community,” the NMC advisory read.

Further it ordered all institutions teaching medicine to UG and PG students that whenever the issue of gender or similar kind arises while teaching, “the mention of clinical history or complaints, or signs or symptoms, examination findings or history about nomenclature shall not be taught in such a way that it becomes or is perceived as derogatory or discriminatory or insulting to the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Lastly, the advisory asks all authors of medical textbooks to amend the information about virginity and the LGBTQIA+ community in their books as per the available scientific literature and guidelines issued by the government and directions passed by the courts.

All medical institutions, colleges and universities have also been instructed not to add books as ‘recommended’ books by the university if these contain unscientific, derogatory and discriminatory information about virginity and the LGBTQIA+ community.

In June 2021, Justice Anand had issued a landmark judgement in the direction of creating a safe environment for the LGBTQIA+ community and ensuring that they are not harassed by the police. He was hearing a plea filed by a lesbian couple in Chennai who had left Madurai to live together. While delivering his judgment, the judge admitted to his own bias and asked for counselling sessions to unlearn his own prejudice and to better understand same-sex relationships and issues faced by the community. Justice Anand later issued orders to ensure that the state police force did not harass same-sex couples.

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