Ignorance and neglect in medical profession compounds widespread discrimination against recognised third gender group.
Discrimination in India’s healthcare system against transgender people remains rife despite new laws earlier aimed at ensuring them equal treatment.
Stress caused by the fear of being treated unfairly, worries about abuse and administrative hurdles are preventing many of the country’s two million transgender people from seeking medical care.
Many of those responsible for ‘transphobia’ are medical professionals themselves, who remain largely uninformed about gender identity issues.
Doctors also shy away from being associated with transgender people for fear of resulting stigma.
Even though civic and government-run hospitals have facilities, but in a number of cases doctors refuse to treat transgenders. That is why transgender people fear to go to the hospital, due to the discrimination committed against them.
Now taking a stand, Gauri Sawant who herself is Transgender and Transgender activist has demanded to the government set up a separate department exclusively meant for the transgender community.
While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Gauri Sawant stated, “For us, the doctors come second after God. Transgender people are also human beings. They too have a right to live with dignity and receive proper medical treatment. But, the doctors and society have a different way of looking at the transgender community. We need to join our hands together and work towards changing the mind-set.”
“Today, there is not a single hospital in Mumbai, which is catering exclusively to the health needs of the transgender community. No hospital or the administration has done efforts to do this. There is still a gap between doctors and the transgender community. We need to bridge this gap,” asserted Gauri.
While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Sushant Pagare, an Occupational therapist at KEM Hospital, said, “There are facilities for transgenders at civic-run hospitals, but many times doctors don’t know how to treat them. We wanted to spread awareness among people that is why we organised this programme. And through this, we wanted to bridge the communication gap between transgenders and doctors. This was our objective.”
The play titled ‘Gender – An identity’ was organised by Dr Jayashri Kale from the Occupational Therapy School and Centre at KEM Hospital. Dr Somnath Sonvalkar was the writer and director of the play. Dr Sapna Mishra, an occupational therapist was part of this team. The play has been based on the lives of transgender people.
The play wanted to convey a message that health services are there for the people and it should be equal for all. But, in government hospitals, there are no facilities for the transgender community. Doctors don’t want to touch or examine them. So, a number of times they have to return from the hospital without getting treatment.