Students at a girl’s school in India were forced to turn in written “confessions” that they were lesbians.
The parents of the 10 students at Kamala Girls’ School in southern Calcutta were outraged their daughters were made to sign the letters, but the school said the punishment was aimed at setting them on “the right course.”
“It was a simple act of disciplining the students,” an anonymous school official told Indian Express. “They were being naughty in class so they were called into the office of the headmistress and were made to sign a confession. The parents were called to sort out the matter and have a discussion but they overreacted saying their girls were forced to sign it.”
The administrator said the signed confessions were handed over to the parents. But acting headmistress Sikha Sarkar says a number of girls were indulging in lesbian relationships. “We called those students and they admitted it,” she told IANS. “Considering the sensitive nature of the issue, I asked them to admit it in writing. I have got written admissions from all 10 students.” She added that parents were brought in “so that we can bring these girls on the right course through efforts both at home and in school.”
LGBT activists in the region say the girls were unfairly persecuted.
“Not only were they singled out on the basis of a few complaints, which could very well have been pranks, I don’t understand what purpose did the whole exercise serve?” said
Malobika of Sappho for Equality. “Are students in co-ed schools asked to write a confession about their heterosexuality when they are seen spending time together?”
Former Kamala students say it isn’t uncommon for teachers and administrators to conduct anti-gay witch hunts.
“The whole atmosphere in traditional girls school is very oppressive,” one graduate told the Express. “I remember we had a teacher who would take it upon herself to scold us if we displayed even a tiny bit of affection to our classmates. The term ’lesbian’ was flung around like it’s a swear word.”