Shunned by society

Shunned by society

MEDICAL WOES

Shunned by society

The sexual minorities have many a battle to fight with the first one being coming to terms with their identity.

 They also have to face discrimination from not just society but their families too. Shunned and scoffed at by every quarter, the sexual minorities, especially the transgenders, get no education or job and are forced to indulge in sex work just to make ends meet. 

What’s more disturbing is the fact that transgenders find it difficult to get rooms in hospitals, be it government or private. When ill, they are shunted from one place to another and forced to knock on many doors before they can finally get treatment.

 The state government had earlier passed an order stipulating that henceforth, all government hospitals in the City and hospitals run by the medical education department must reserve a two-bed ward for the treatment of the members of the transgender community. The government has also relaxed the mandatory condition of producing a castration certificate to avail the benefits provided the state government. They can now submit an affidavit. But sadly, most of the government hospitals in the City confess that they are not aware of such an order being passed.

The authorities at government hospitals say that they don’t deny any treatment to the transgenders. Metrolife interacted with a few transgenders who shared their traumatic story of being denied treatment at government and private hospitals. 

Reethu, born a male, began to feel changes in his body and behaviour when he was barely eight years old. He would prefer the company of women and even in class, would sit next to girls. “People at home didn’t accept me and I was mocked at even in school. 

Unable to bear the mental and physical abuse, I ran away from home when I was 18 and landed in Mumbai where I began doing sex work,” confesses Reethu who has undergone a sex reassignment surgery. Recalling the worst phase of her life, Reethu recounts that she was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the chest a few years ago. 

“All the government and private hospitals refused treatment for me and asked me to produce certificates which were proof of my gender. It was humiliating,” she recalls. Reethu says that she was asked some tricky questions about her sexuality, “I was asked how many people I slept with and if I was HIV positive. I was shocked,” she says. 

Sonika, another transgender, confesses, “When I go with a normal cold and cough, the doctors at most government hospitals enquire about my sexuality. And then, after asking a lot of embarrassing questions, they write the wrong medicine. This has happened to me more than once. We have nowhere to go when we fall ill and sometimes, we are asked to indulge in sex even by the doctors we go to,” she says. 

The medical fraternity claim that they don’t discriminate when it comes to treatment. Dr Some Gowda, medical superintendent of Vani Vilas Hospital, says, “We aren’t aware of such a government order being passed but we do treat transgenders whenever they come.

But most of the time, they prefer to go to smaller clinics. And there is always theconfusion about putting them in the male or female ward because other patients feel uncomfortable in their company.”  

Dr Nagaraj HK, senior professor of urology, MS Ramaiah Medical College and Hospital, who performs the sex reassignment surgery on transgenders, says that the hospital is open to treating everybody including transgenders. “The government hospitals should set an example and start the trend of giving treatment rather impartially. I hope they become more efficient when it comes to providing medical care,” he sums up. 

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