Interview: Kerala lesbian woman reveals she was subjected to ‘conversion therapy’

Afeefa allegedly underwent ‘conversion therapy’, a pseudoscientific treatment method that claims to ‘cure’ persons of homosexuality, at a prominent hospital in Kerala’s Kozhikode.
Sumayya Sherin and Afeefa
Sumayya Sherin and Afeefa
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Sumayya Sherin and Afeefa, lesbian partners from Kerala, were reunited on June 28 after an almost month-long ordeal that involved multiple police complaints, a habeas corpus petition, and a pseudoscientific treatment method of ‘conversion therapy’ that claims to ‘cure’ persons of homosexuality. In an interview given to TNM, the two women spoke about the various difficulties they have faced so far, including the ‘treatment’ at a prominent hospital in Kozhikode that Afeefa was subjected to.

“The doctor told me that homosexuality is unnatural and can be cured. A counsellor showed me a book and said that homosexuality is a disorder. I tried to not drink the medicine they gave me, so they injected it. In the beginning, it was administered in low dosage. When I said that I wanted to go to Sumayya, the doctor got angry at me and increased the dosage of medicine,” Afeefa recounted. 

Sumayya and Afeefa had been living together in Ernakulam since January this year, after a Malappuram Magistrate Court issued an order in their favour. However, Afeefa was forcibly taken away from the couple’s workplace on May 30 by her family. 

After Sumayya filed a habeas corpus petition in the High Court on June 5, Afeefa appeared in court on June 19 and said that she did not wish to live with Sumayya. However, she later texted her partner saying she had been forced to say so due to the mistreatment by her family and health professionals. On June 28, the two women reunited following the intervention of the Kerala-based NGO Vanaja Collective, the Malappuram Women’s Protection Office, and police officials.

Watch the full interview here:

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