The Madras High Court issued far-reaching guidelines aimed at mainstreaming LGBTIQA+ people on Monday, emphasising that sexual autonomy is an essential aspect of the right to privacy. The guidelines range from prohibiting attempts to “medically cure” LGBTIQA+ people to seeking changes in school and university curricula and recommending awareness programmes for judicial officers, police, and prison guards.
Justice N Anand Venkatesh issued the ruling in response to a petition filed by a lesbian couple whose relationship was being contested by their parents. Families of the petitioners filed missing person complaints with the police when they abandoned their homes in Madurai to live in Chennai, resulting in the filing of two FIRs and the couple being probed.
The court stated that LGBTQIA+ people have the right to privacy and that they “have a right to a dignified existence, which includes their choice of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender presentation, gender expression, and choice of partner thereof,” adding that “this right and the manner in which it is exercised are constitutionally protected under Article 21 of the Constitution.”
Tamil Nadu is set to become the first state to outlaw “any attempts to medically cure or change the sexual orientation of LGBTIQA+ people to heterosexual or the gender identity of transgender people to cisgender,” with the order prohibiting “any attempts to medically cure or change the sexual orientation of LGBTIQA+ people to heterosexual or the gender identity of transgender people to cisgender.”