Vol VII, Issue 2 Date of Publication: May 07, 2022
DOI: https://doi.org/10.20529/IJME.2021.090

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LGBTQIA+ rights, mental health systems, and curative violence in India

Sudarshan R Kottai
This commentary examines the space-attitude-administrative complex of mainstream mental health systems with regard to its responses to decriminalisation of non-heteronormative sexual identities. Even though the Supreme Court, in its 2018 order, instructed governments to disseminate its judgment widely, there has been no such attempt till date. None of the government-run mental health institutions has initiated an LGBTQIA+ rights-based awareness campaign on the judgment, considering that lack of awareness about sexualities in itself remains a critical factor for a non-inclusive environment that forces queer individuals to end their lives. That the State did not come up with any awareness campaign as mandated in the landmark judgment reflects an attitude of queerphobia in the State. Drawing on the concept of “biocommunicability”, analysing the public interfaces of state-run mental health institutions, and the responses of mental health systems to the death by suicide of a queer student, I illustrate how mental health institutions function to further anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiments of the state by churning out customer-patients out of structural violence and systemic inequalities, benefitting the mental health economy at the cost of queer citizens on whom curative violence is practised.

Copyright and license
©Indian Journal of Medical Ethics 2021: Open Access and Distributed under the Creative Commons license ( CC BY-NC-ND 4.0),
which permits only non-commercial and non-modified sharing in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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