Celebrating laudable achievements of South Asian physiotherapists in the UK, South Asian Heritage Month also provides an opportunity to reflect
I am of Gujerati heritage, was born and raised in South Africa as Hindu and qualified as a physio in Cape Town.
As chair of the CSP LGBTQIA+ network, I feel it is important to name the continuing impact colonisation has had on equity, diversity and belonging in the South Asian community and diaspora.
Despite the eventual repeal in 2018 of the Victorian law (Section 377 Penal Code) criminalising consensual homosexual sex in India, there is still no comprehensive anti-discrimination protection in society.
“While the Constitution prohibits discrimination, that injunction only applies to the government and its instrumentalities. The private sector thus can discriminate with impunity in matters of employment, housing, health and education among other areas.” Find out more from the Business Standard and the article titled The state of LGBTQ+ rights: 'India does not have anti-discrimination code'.
The passing of the 2019 Transgender Person Act in India was a step forward, however a person still cannot determine their own gender status.
And despite worshipping goddesses (for example, Lakshmi) in the Hindu faith, the treatment of females is appalling with 22 per cent of women reporting physical and/or intimate partner sexual violence in the last 12 months in India’s patriarchal society.
The caste system remains, and very much like the UK class system, serves as a tool for oppression and discrimination.
Following Brexit, the UK is seeking trade deals with historic Commonwealth nations.
This provides an opportunity for the CSP, World Physiotherapy and government to pressurise Commonwealth partners to create a more equitable, diverse and inclusive society.
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