Are we being trained to discriminate? Need to sensitize doctors in India on issues of gender and sexuality
Keywords:Gender identity, Healthcare disparities, Legislation, LGBTQIA people, Medical education, undergraduate, Section 377, Sexual and Gender Minorities, Transgender persons
Even though the struggle for LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual; with the + indicating myriad others) rights is an ongoing one, we have come a long way in terms of acceptance and inclusion. In spite of the progress, the LGBTQIA+ community in India still faces rampant bias in society as well as in healthcare. This is fueled by misinformation, which leads to prejudice and violence against these individuals. This paper discusses this struggle, touching upon the legal and social aspects. The focus is on the detrimental effects of stigma on health outcomes and health disparities for LGBTQIA+ individuals. The outlook of some in the medical fraternity and the deficiencies in medical training, including redundant and outdated curriculum/ textbooks, are discussed. It is implied that these factors result in biased and ill-informed doctors who are poorly equipped to meet the health needs of the LGBTQIA+ population. Correcting the deficiencies is a priority in the face of the recent ruling by the Honorable Supreme Court of India striking down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that previously criminalized consensual carnal intercourse among consenting adults of this community of people.
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