New Education Policy: Sexual Orientation Cannot Be a Matter of Abuse

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), July 8, 2016 | Go to article overview

New Education Policy: Sexual Orientation Cannot Be a Matter of Abuse


India, July 7 -- As the ministry of human resource development pores over the undisclosed contents of the TSR Subramanian report to draft the New Education Policy (NEP), it would do well to remember one of the constituent principles of the 1986 policy: The creation of an "awareness of inherent equality" and removal of "prejudices and complexes transmitted through the social environment". When it comes to school students who do not conform to the expectations from their sex (sex stereotypes), these are unfulfilled promises.

For example, boys who sway their hips while walking or girls who "walk like a boy" are bullied, called names "gay", "faggot", "chakka", "Hijra", "lezbo", "dyke", etc., and mentally, physically or sexually abused. Educators usually ignore such incidents or ask students to conform to expectations. Expectations that attach to a particular sex are societal. After all, blue was the colour for young girls and pink for young boys in the early 20th century in America!

The Supreme Court has in one case stated that "section 377 IPC does not criminalize a particular people or identity or orientation" and in another ruled that "[d]iscrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity, therefore, impairs equality before the law and equal protection of law and violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India", thus placing public bodies (including government schools) under a constitutional mandate to prevent bullying/discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). One verdict has prohibited even a private body from violating the equality clause of the Constitution extending this mandate to private bodies (including private schools).

The UGC Anti-Ragging Regulations (2009), which cover homosexual assault, bind only public and private universities - i. …

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