On June 12, a 22-year-old lesbian student from Kochi sat in a doctor’s office as her life choices were being dissected. She was taken to a hospital by her parents without her consent. A doctor from the reputed hospital offered to ‘change’ her sexual orientation by admitting her, offering medication and counselling. In other words, we are speaking about another instance of conversion therapy. The practice caught our attention again in March when Anjana Harish, a 21-year-old student committed suicide in Goa after being mentally and physically tortured at a ‘de-addiction centre’ in Palakkad where she was taken against her will by her family.
Dhanya Ravindran, a board member of Queerala, an LGBTQIA+ community in Kerala, who is acquainted with the woman says, “My friend was taken by her family to get ‘treatment’. Even after Anjana’s case, where a child’s life was lost due to something like this, the doctor asked to admit her there. They promised to help the parents by offering counselling and asked her to get admitted there. They also wanted to check if she had any physical issues. She did not agree. When we inquired further, we also found that the doctor who claimed to be a psychiatrist was actually a psychologist.”
In 2018, when the Supreme Court decriminalised Section 377, the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) disavowed conversion therapy and released a statement completely discrediting the practice. According to Om Prakash Singh, Editor of the Indian Journal of Psychiatry and Professor of Psychiatry at the West Bengal Medical Education Service, “We have given a statement strictly criticising this. And since homosexuality is not a disease or a disorder, there is no question of conversion or any kind of treatment for that. Secondly, even if an organisation is offering such a thing, it is not going to work. They are basically deceiving people. Medication could not possibly alter your sexual orientation.”
After Anjana’s suicide became public and the video was available online, Queerala sent it to the Indian Psychiatric Society’s Kerala Chapter and organised a consultation with them in February. After being informed, they released a statement about their position against conversion therapy. At the same time, they also sent a complaint to the Kerala State Mental Health Authority from whom they are yet to receive a response. As the next step, the organisation plans to submit a writ petition to the Kerala High Court. During the incident that occured on June 12, the girl was able to record the 30-minute long conversation that she had with her parents and the doctor. Here are excerpts from the conversation that Queerala has shared with us:
Continue reading at: https://www.edexlive.com/happening/2020/jun/26/the-horrors-of-conversion-therapy-for-queer-folk-kerala-doctor-assures-family-of-changing-girls-12912.html (Source)
Two women, wanting to get married, sought police protection against their families in Ajmer on Tuesday because their families are opposed to their alliance. Both the women want to live together and have vowed to marry in future.
The two 20-something graduates have been friends since the past four years, the police said. At first, their families were happy to see their friendship and were glad that they were focussing on their studies instead of men. But when the parents learnt that the two are lesbian, both the families protested and allegedly threatened the girls with dire consequences.
Continue reading: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com
Two women in their early twenties are going viral online for sharing their harrowing experience which they faced at a club in Chennai. The two women alleged that they were treated badly by the club because they are a same sex couple.
Rasika Gopalakrishnan and Shivangi Singh, took to their respective Facebook pages to tell their experience at a bar called The Slate Hotels.
In a long FB post, Rasika recounted her experience saying that the club apparently accused them of doing something else and insisted them to leave the premises even though they did not do anything.
“I am devastated by the assumptions that are made about people who deviate even slightly from the norm. They decided to make a ‘threat’ out of us for absolutely no good reason, and worse, tried to make us feel guilty for something we didn’t do.”
She also accused the hotel of threatening them by saying that they had a video of them making out and they would make the video public.
Continue reading: https://www.indiatoday.in/trending-news/story/chennai-lesbian-couple-thrown-out-of-hotel-staff-blackmail-them-with-making-out-video-1576501-2019-08-02 (source)
Dutee Chand, India’s first openly gay athlete, is facing a barrage of criticism from her family after announcing she was in a same-sex relationship.
Her mother and father, Akhuji and Chakradhar Chand, have not accepted their daughter’s wish to “settle down” with her partner.
Mr Chand has called their relationship “immoral and unethical”, telling the Times of India: “She has destroyed the reputation of our village.”
In interviews with Indian media, however, Ms Chand does not seem fazed.
“Freedom of choice and freedom to love are my inalienable rights and I shall exercise it,” she told the Times of India.
Continue reading: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-48534449 (source)
A 19-year-old girl was beaten up and tied to a tree by residents of her village for being in a lesbian relationship, in Jagatsinghpur district on Friday. Sarmila Malla has been seeing a girl of the same village for the past six months.
“We beat up and tied Sarmila to a tree in our village as she is a lesbian. She is immoral and has besmirched the name of our village,” said Ganesh Parida, a resident of Chandol.
On Saturday, the traumatised girl recounted the events of the previous day. “I was dragged out of my house by my neighbours. They beat me up and tied me to a tree. They abused and kicked me when my parents tried to rescue me,” Sarmila said.
Continue reading: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com
JAIPUR: A lesbian couple on Tuesday approached the Rajasthan High Court seeking protection for their life and to restrain their families from forcing them to get married to men.
The girls , belonging to the backward Bairwa and Koli communities, are from the same village Gudha Ashiqpura in Dausa district.
Continue reading at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/68177532.cms (Source)
For the past six years, Abhilasha and Deepshika had endured forced separation, marriages to men they did not desire, humiliation and constant taunts from their families. Their “marriage by media” was the result of love, fear that their families might kill them, and confusion as they — and their lawyer — mistakenly thought that same-sex marriage was legal in India. It isn’t. In September 2018, the Indian Supreme Court judgement overturned a colonial-era law banning gay sex. The court stopped short of legalising gay marriage but, as Abhilasha and Deepshika’s story reveals, people in love are forcing a national reckoning in pockets of India long considered too parochial, socially conservative, or outright dangerous to consider the possibility that two women may want to spend the rest of their lives together.
Continue reading at: https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/in-rural-bundelkhand-a-lesbian-couple-tries-to-make-a-life_in_5c3c1289e4b0922a21d62164 (Source)
In a first, since the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality on September 6, 2018, a lesbian couple got married legally on Saturday at Kendrapara in Odisha. But the father of one of the brides said it was all a big conspiracy and a lot of black magic. He lodged a complaint with the Pattamundai Police Station on Monday alleging that his daughter is innocent and is under a spell of black magic.
Police have said that the couple will be interrogated in connection with the matter. “The girl will be interrogated to ascertain whether she has been forced to maintain the relationship with the other girl or it was her own choice,” Pramod Mallick, IIC of Pattamundai Police Station, said.
Continue reading at: https://www.edexlive.com/news/2019/
A young lesbian couple reportedly got married in Manglor area of Haridwar. The couple has registered the marriage in court and has demanded security from the police.
The court has ordered the police to ensure the protection of both the women. After the historic judgement by the Supreme Court, people are coming forward with their sexual preference without hesitation.
Both the women need security as the families are not happy with their decision and have threatened to kill them. Both the women are adult and taking all responsibility for their decision.
Continue reading at: https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-our-family-can-kill-us-lesbian-couple-demands-protection-from-police-after-getting-married-2704606 (source)
A lesbian from India who was allegedly held against her will by her husband and parents has won the right to live with her girlfriend.
The High Court of Delhi‘s Justices Siddharth Mridul and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said the woman, who has not been named, had an “inalienable human and fundamental right” to live with her partner, according to The Indian Express.
Continue reading at: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2019/01/03/
An Indian teen has been beaten in a hostel and suffered abuse from the warden and other students. Their motive was linked with rumours that the 15-year-old was a ‘lesbian’.
Continue reading at: https://www.desiblitz.com/content/indian-teen-hostel-lesbian (Source)
Thiruvananthapuram: The Sree Chitra Home for Destitute and Infirm here has no room for lesbians. Therefore, it ousted Shilpa, an inmate, alleging that she had lesbian tendencies.
Continue reading at: Kerala: Inmate ousted for being lesbian (Source)
A day after Bangalore Mirror reported the shocking police complaint filed against two women for informally marrying each other, it has emerged that one of the women has been fired from her company.
“The company (gozefo.com) people called me in the morning and asked me if I want to continue in the job or not. They asked me to talk to my parents and get back. I told them I’ll talk to my lawyers and get back. When I called them back at 5.30 pm, they said HR had decided that you leave the company since they know that it’s me who is making rounds in the media from morning. This is totally unfair,” said the younger woman.
“No one can just claim that it’s her and throw her out of the company. They told her it’s very evident from what the TV channels have showed in the visuals, and did this. We did not get married at all. In fact, I’m related to her and we live in the same house. This is really not acceptable,” the other woman said.
Continue reading at: ‘They called at 11 am and asked if I wanted to continue in my job. By 5.30 pm, they had asked me to leave’ – Bangalore Mirror (Source)
A Room of Our Own
A Feminist/Womanist Network
“Lesbian sexual identity and choice is being eroded, erased and elided. This is being done by the literal obliteration of lesbians by state-sponsored violence, by the “corrective rape of lesbians” (imagine the 12 year old Pearl Mali being given the worst sort of reparative therapy by her very own mother), by the harassment and violence, by the firings (lesbians face more job discrimination than any other group within the LGBT alliance), by the enforced and compulsory heterosexuality of every society on earth. Aderonke Apata has been forced, by men, to provide not just spoken testimony and a pending marriage license, but also a sex tape of her having sexual relations with her partner to “prove” her lesbianism to the men who want to erase that aspect of her identity–the very identity that puts her and millions of other lesbians at risk of imprisonment and/or death.”
Continue reading Victoria Brownworth and other contributors to A Room of Our Own at: Erasure: The New Normal for Lesbians by @VABVOX – A Room of Our Own (Source)
AND MORE Victoria Brownworth at: https://www.victoriabrownworth.com/
Posted in Blogs We Love
Tagged A Room of Our Own, Aderonke Apata, Ciara Murphy, compulsory heterosexuality, corrective rape, Discrimination, Freedom from religion, Hate crimes, homophobia, Jackie Nanyonjo, Keshema Tulloch, language matters, lesbian erasure, Lesbian history, lesbian identity, lesbian voices, Lesbians in India, Lesbians in Ireland, Lesbians in Jamaica, Lesbians in Kyrgyzstan, Lesbians in Nigeria, Lesbians in Russia, Lesbians in Saudi Arabia, Lesbians in South Africa, Lesbians in Sudan, Lesbians in Sweden, Lesbians in the U.K., Lesbians in the U.S., Lesbians in Uganda, Lesbophobia, Maria Barin, Pearl Mali, persecution, Roisin Prendergast, seeking asylum, Threats of violence, Victoria A. Brownsworth, violence against lesbians, violence against women
What is most saddening is, thanks to social stigma, a story like this is more often than not swept the under the carpet. It is because of such entrenched stigma that a couple — who merely sought to give their relationship a name — has been missing for more than two months, and it hasn’t received any mainstream media attention.
Continue reading at: Why a harassed Indian lesbian couple going missing does not make news (Source)
The women told police there were in love and wanted to live together, despite knowing homosexual sexual activity is illegal under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
Continue reading at: Lesbian couple flee after their families try to break them up (Source)
The faculty members and students at NSD appreciated the actors for their performances. Talking about the bold scenes in the play, Neha Singh, one of the actors, said, “I can’t say we are fearless. Even now, before performing our play in small towns, we are sometimes afraid that people might not like the play as it is too bold. But we have never censored our play.” She added, “Lesbian love remains one of the taboos on stage. There have been lesbian characters in plays, but not as central characters. In the case of queer plays, there are more gay characters than lesbians.”
Continue reading at: A lesbian love story staged at National School of Drama (Source)
A recent murder case in Gujarat India highlights the plight of lesbians who are trapped in abusive situations in countries with high rates of family imposed sex-based abuse and homophobia and where living independently as a woman and lesbian is difficult. Where there are few to no legal or social remedies to prevent violence against themselves and their loved ones, abused lesbians may have no meaningful choices other than to remain in danger or breach legal or social rules. All courses of action open to them will be harmful, and possibly dangerous. Retaliating to stop the violence may stop familial abuse but results in exposure to significant legal sanctions. The emotional and psychological toll of facing these choices and their consequences adds to the tragedy of women trapped in this way.
In early April 2017, the body of a man, Yunis Maniya, was found in Bharuch dictrict of Gujarat, India. A woman (Mayaben), reportedly the lesbian partner of the victim’s daughter (Jaheda), and an unrelated male (Jayendra) have been charged with the man’s murder. The motive for the murder is reported by the local police responsible for the investigation as the ending of sexuality-based domestic violence:
“The motive behind the murder was the victim’s opposition to the lesbian relationship. The accused was having an affair with the daughter of the deceased. He used to beat his daughter in a bid to discourage her from having a relationship with the accused. This incited the automobile broker who later hatched the plan to murder him,” said deputy SP of Bharuch N D Chauhan.
Information on this case is scarce in English and the articles do not appear sympathetic to the plight of the abused daughter or her partner accused of the murder. What isn’t clear, reading only the English articles, is what the options would be for women experiencing domestic violence on the basis of their sexuality in a country where sex-based violence against women alone is endemic, homophobia is widespread and women’s capacity to leave the family circle is limited.
While domestic violence is illegal in India, women and girls remain highly susceptible to abuse within the family. In 2016 it was reported that so-called honour killings had risen by 800% year on year, although it is unclear whether this represents an increase in the killings or an increase in reporting.
Lesbians are particularly vulnerable given the criminalisation of same sex activities under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, introduced in 1860 and only repealed in 2009. In 2016 the Indian Supreme Court committed to reviewing Section 377 after a 2013 decision had reinstated the law . Only months before, a 2 judge bench of the Supreme Court named homosexuality “a social evil for some” in a tax ruling on a Gujurati film on homosexuality. The Supreme Court action was reportedly the last chance for law reform, save only an appeal to the conservative politicians of India.
Although the legal sanctions are not directly applied, they remain a potent backdrop to social sanctions and persecution in a country where national surveys report a 75% disapproval rate of homosexuality and in which lesbians face a double oppression as both women and lesbians.
A brief reading of lesbian writings about their life in India demonstrates some of the risks lesbians face, both on the basis of their sex and their sexuality.
This Gujurati case represents the catch-22 lesbian around the world can face – how do lesbians being abused for their sexuality and relationships defend themselves in societies where violence against women is endemic and where homosexuality is punished? This is a no win situation for lesbians who are trapped in violent situations with few options for escape or defense, and where retaliatory violence exposes them to far greater legal sanctions.
When lesbians have no safe way to leave or stay, what meaningful choice remains?
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More on the legal situation and processes:
“If I say screw it and come out as a lesbian to society, I can go to jail for it.”
Continue reading at: I’m A Lesbian In India And I’m Suffocating | NewNowNext (Source)