India’s first openly gay prince Manvendra Singh Gohil has pioneered South Asia’s first academic module on LGBTQ community.
Also read about Manvendra Singh Gohil: India’s First Openly Gay Prince.
Titled, ‘Proclivity of Gender: Socio-legal approach to LGBTQ community, the compulsory course was launched at Karnavati University, Ahmedabad. It will be taken by undergraduate students of Law and Liberal Studies at the varsity.
Over 60 students ranging from higher secondary to PhD scholars from across the country will be participating in the course.
In Gohil’s own words, “The idea behind the course is to foster inclusive education and greater social acceptance towards the third gender. It includes topics such as the history of the LGBTQ rights movement in India and how it began. It will provide international references to LGBTQ rights movements, Section 377 of the IPC (Indian Penal Code). Incidentally, a review petition on the same remains sub-judice and other socio-cultural aspects of the community.”
“Mental and physical health including HIV-AIDS issues, age related issues etc would also form part of the curriculum. Through this course we shall present facts backed by hard evidence and reasoning so as to make students understand the various issues that plague the community.
Unfortunately India needs such education because support is not normally forthcoming even from parents, friends or teachers. Society in general, is responsible for the discrimination and prejudice faced by the community. Sometimes the discrimination and abuse even turns ruthlessly violent and fatal.
“Discrimination is so rampant that the LGBTQ minority face discrimination when it comes to their basic rights as well. Necessities like basic healthcare and housing are denied to this minority simply based on prejudice. This is where educating students, the future of the country, will come in handy. Tomorrow, they may wish to come out themselves or may have friends, family, co-workers or their children who may belong to LGBTQ community. Their outlook towards such people will change to one of equality, if educated on the same, today.” This is what Prof Shrut Brahmbhatt, convenor of the course had to say.
Anahita Sarabhai, founder, QueerAbad – an online platform for Ahmedabad’s queer community also echoed a similar view and stated,”Raising uncomfortable issues and initiating conversations around them is also one of the key roles of education which such a case should aim to fulfil.”
Written by: Delshad Master