Despite a lot of misconceptions about LGBTI people in the medical profession, these Indian doctors want to show they believe in equality.
For the first time ever a group of distinct white coats will fill Mumbai’s pride march.
Students from medical schools across the city will join the parade on Saturday to show their support for LGBTI equality.
Marching under the banner Future Doctors for Equality the coalition of students the Queer Azaadi Mumbai – Mumbai Pride for the first time.
Preet Sharma is a second year medical student who has helped to spearhead the initiative.
‘We decided to focus on LGBT rights, and celebrating ability, which means showcasing the talent in the disabled. The LGBT rights focus can start with marching in the gay parade.
‘We expect at least 100 to 200 medical students on the day.
‘We also want to push for employment for transgenders, create awareness about HIV amongst the community and finally, smash some misconceptions about the gay community within the medical profession.’
Medicine, Mumbai and the LGBTI community
The relationship between the medical profession and the LGBTI community in India has not always been ideal.
Mumbai based LGBTI advocacy organisation, The Humsafar Trust (HST) accused doctors of deliberately opposing LGBTI rights because they do not want to hurt their profits as gay conversion practitioners.
‘There are many doctors, who claim that they can ‘cure’ LGBT people. There is a lot of exploitation and mental harassment that happens in the process,’ HSV’s Pallav Patankar said.
Dr Dhruv Ambegaokar came out while he was studying medicine and said it was important the medical profession is visible in their support for the LGBTI community.
‘It does give the cause more legitimacy,’ he said.
‘Myths prevail in the medical community too amongst the older doctors especially. When I came out to my parents, both of them doctors, did not know too much about homosexuality themselves.
‘They read up and became aware about LGBT. Now, they are so cool.’
Mumbai Pride started on January 7 and will finish with the pride march on Saturday January 28.