‘Conversion therapy’ is misconduct, declares National Medical Commission

According to experts “Reparative” or “conversion” therapy is a dangerous practice that targets LGBTQ+ youth and seeks to change their sexual or gender identities.

September 02, 2022 10:15 pm | Updated September 05, 2022 08:08 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The National Medical Commission (NMC), the apex regulatory body of medical professionals in India, has said that “conversion therapy” will be counted as professional misconduct and has also written to all the State Medical Councils empowering them to take disciplinary action against medical professionals if they undertake “conversion therapy”.

The move, according to experts, is a singularly significant step towards eliminating quackery. According to experts “Reparative” or “conversion” therapy is a dangerous practice that targets LGBTQ+ youth and seeks to change their sexual or gender identities.

So-called “conversion therapy,” also known as “reparative therapy,” is a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, or expression. Such practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades, but due to continuing discrimination and societal bias against LGBTQ people, some practitioners continue to conduct conversion therapy. Minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.

The letter to State Medical Councils written on August 25 states that the Madras High Court has directed the National Medical Commission to issue necessary official notification by enlisting – Conversion Therapy as a professional misconduct.

“In compliance of order July 8, 2022, Ethics and Medical Registration Board, National Medical Commission has decided that conversion therapy will constitute a professional misconduct under the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct Etiquettes and Ethics) Regulations, 2002,’’ said the communication.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has said that it finds no evidence to support the application of any “therapeutic intervention” operating under the premise that a specific sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression is pathological. Furthermore, based on the scientific evidence, the AACAP asserts that such “conversion therapies” (or other interventions imposed with the intent of promoting a particular sexual orientation and/or gender as a preferred outcome) lack scientific credibility and clinical utility. Additionally, there is evidence that such interventions are harmful. As a result, “conversion therapies” should not be part of any behavioral health treatment of children and adolescents.”

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