Graphic by Himanshu Vaidya

Conversion therapy tries to change the sexual orientation of a person – which is something that one cannot control. Conversion therapy includes abominable, egregious and unpardonable methods which leaves the person mentally scarred and traumatized for life. A few of these methods are behavioural modification, psychoanalysis, reparative therapy, sex therapy and lobotomy. More fundamentally, the very existence of “reparative therapy” implies that being a member of the LGBTQ+ community means a person is broken and needs fixing. It implies that LGBTQ+ people have a mental disorder that needs to be cured.

In behavioural modification, practitioners of conversion therapy employed aversive conditioning techniques, involving electric shock and nausea-inducing drugs during presentation of same-sex erotic images. Cessation of the aversive stimuli was typically accompanied by the presentation of opposite-sex erotic images, with the objective of strengthening heterosexual feelings.

In psychoanalysis, they advocated long-term therapy aimed at resolving the unconscious childhood conflicts that they considered responsible for homosexuality.

People who undergo “reparative therapy” are taught to behave in accordance with a “straight” identity, a practice that may sometimes change behaviors but doesn’t actually change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

On 6 September 2018, consensual gay sex was legalised by India’s Supreme Court but India is facing a prolonged backlash from its LGBTQ+ community over the continued use of conversion therapies to “cure” homosexuality by changing people’s sexual orientation. In May 2020, the tragic suicide of Anjana Harish, a 21-year-old bisexual woman in Goa, sparked online protests. Harish had posted a video online before her suicide describing how she had been subjected to conversion therapy by her family in her home state of Kerala. Her death revitalised efforts by activists to call for an outright ban on the practice.

“Parents use corrective rape to straight’en gays” is an article which talks about Indian parents who use so called “corrective” rape on thier homosexual children to bring them to the “right path”. The perpetrators are family members so the victim refrain from seeking legal action for trauma.

According to statistics shared by the Crisis Intervention Team of LGBT Collective in Telangana, there have been 15 instances of ‘corrective rapes’ that have been reported in the group in the last five years. “We are sure there are many more cases, but they go unreported,” says Vyjayanti Mogli, a member of crisis intervention. “We came across such cases not because they reported the rape, but because they sought help to flee their homes. Loathsome and detestable things like this have been happening for years , and this is not the worst part, the comment section is. 

A few comments on this article are –

 “Just a fantasy, not a word is true, the girl is spreading falsehood and rumors.” 

“This type of “article” can only demoralize our society to increase the crime rate.” 

“All for publicity. what if they get cured?” 

“This is only the publicity stunt and we think that this report must have taken something to publish this here” 

“Beliefs in bogus theories can make you do any thing specially the gullible idiots fall for the so called cunning Godmen.”

“This is a paid article by ISI just to defame India and start this North VS South fight. But we are all united under Modi.”

“Pure BS, this is nothing but a work of a pervert mind trying to make quick buck from the shock value.”

“Cannot be true. It is paid article by the film maker named in this article. This is done to create free publicity and to avoid sensor board expected cut.”

“LOL propaganda. to shape young Minds.! the western media want by hook and crook to demolish the strong bonds of cultural sanity in India so that the young can be easy victims to mind manipulation”

And the best comment that sums up the ignorant mindset of the Indian community- “This is all propaganda by goras who are jealous of Modi and his 100% success rate on corruption, swacch bharat, zero crime, zero thefts and zero rapes. India has no problems at all but these foreigners create new ones for India. If any truth seeker dared to visit India and go to the right places, they will see beauty, peace and love everywhere. The air is clean and the water is prestine. Police are feeling bored because they have no work to do. Lawyers have gone unemployed…”

The most common themes from all the 284 comments of the article include “defamation of India- Modi is great”, “false propaganda-do not believe” and “publicity stunt”.

These despicable and appalling comments reflect the Indian mentality regarding the taboo topic of lgbtq+ and rape. Education about such topics are of utmost importance as many people undergo horrendous practices, mental trauma, emotional scarring and in very grim cases, suicides. Please educate yourself and those around you about taboo topics like this as we need a more open minded and accepting society as the internet is mean enough on its own. Coming out of the closet is a hard job on its own, but if we choose to make them outcasts and take them to the brink of suicide, imagine all the horrible thoughts that must go through their mind. They cannot live the way they want or be who they are before coming out and it certainly won’t be the same after coming out. But the one thing we can control is how we treat them. Acknowledge their feelings and treat them equally. Be kind to them because at the core all humans have a genuine kindness that is hidden behind a curtain of strict dogmatic practices. Let’s tear down stereotypes and treat our fellow homo sapiens with the love they deserve.

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