Access to proper health care is still a problem for trans community as they fear of getting discriminated by the health providers. Many of them don’t want to reveal identitiesas they feel that thereis a barrier created by the society.
A study published in 2022 on National Center For Biotechnology Information by Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery shows that despite the directives of the Supreme Court and the enactment of the Transgender Persons Act, many transgender and gender-variant people in India struggle to access essential health care services. This is mostly due to systemic issues such as discrimination based on their gender identity, inaccessibility of public health facilities, lack of accountability and transparency in the delivery of services, or high cost of treatment in the private sector, as mentioned in the article.
Christy Raj, A transman from Rachenahalli said, “Because we look different, health providers laugh at us. Sometimes they don’t want to treat us and talk to us in a very rude manner.” He said that they have identified some big hospitals and have conducted sensitization programs with them so that they understand their problems, he said. “But we are always treated different as if we are animals. So, many of us are reluctant to go to the hospitals,” he said. Instead of focusing on their health, issue health providers focus on how they look and why they are different, he said. This can even lead to serious health complications for them, he added.
Many activists and NGOs are coming up together with the hospitals and sensitizing health providers about the problems of the trans community and have released guidelines on gender affirmative care.
Sahitya, an activist from Nazariya foundation, says that they usually recommend all the queer community to follow the guidelines given by government which instructs them to undergo counselling sessions which is very necessary before undergoing a gender affirmative surgery. “It takes time but it is safer than the private hospitals” he added.
Members of Medical Advisory Council, National Medical Commission, have also removed derogatory terms about the trans community from forensic and psychiatric textbooks. Swathi, a general surgeon from Institute of Public Health, Bengaluru said, “Our healthcare institutions are quite binary in nature. There needs to be change in curriculum.” Intersex variations are not talked about in pathologized manner and so there is an erasure of information, she said. “Practitioners can address thehealth issues of people from trans community by building trust, so that they can share their problems and respect their identity,” she said. There are guidelines on gender affirmative care which are released by community themselves so doctors should look them to understand their problems, she added.
Keywords-Transgender, Transman, Transwoman, Queer, Gender Affirmative Surgery