Documentary calls for healthcare system to be trans-friendly

Kolkata, June 9 (IANS) The denial of basic healthcare to transgenders has been brought to light through a documentary “Beyond Blue and Pink” that seeks to promote dialogue and discussion towardsA creating a trans-friendly way of accessing West Bengal’s healthcare system.

The members of a city-based NGO, Civilian Welfare Foundation, Indrani Kar and Shuvojit Moulik, had undertaken a study titled “Basic Medical Facility for transgenders-a crucial step towards improving public health” in 2014.

They came across the plight of many members of the community, and thereafter filmed the documentary to reach out and sensitize a larger audience.

One of the directors of the documentary, Debgopal Mondal, who himself is a part of the LGBT community, mentioned that there was a lot of talk on Article 377, rights of the community and choice of partners, but while making the film he realised that the real issues of the transgenders were not being highlighted.

For instance, there is lack of trans-friendly public urinals.

“The whole system is running on a binary mindset, anything different or outside the box is challenged and resisted,” said Abhirupa Kar of Civilian Welfare Foundation.

Transgenders are subject to ‘trans-phobia’, discrimination, harassment and mockery even during getting basic treatment in West Bengal and other parts of India.

“I have witnessed doctors being intolerant, insensitive and callous due to which the people like us (transgender) are becoming scared to visit the doctors. As we face constant discrimination, we are not at at mental ease and as we are deprived of basic physical treatment, the ailments are aggravating,” said Anurag Maitrayee, a city-based gender activist.

“In our society, we are taught to hold guns but not hands. The documentary made me feel that the things shared are about me and I could relate to it,” Maitrayee added after watching the film on Friday.

According to psychiatrist Madhurima Ghosh, the constant denial of even the basic rights results in anxiety, depression and other mental disorders.

“Sensitisation of parents is important; it can only be done once a psychologist is able to able build rapport with them. We cannot directly do it as the stigma is deep-rooted,” said Ghosh, who is attached to AIIMS, Delhi.

She said the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) will conduct inclusive workshops to sensitise the medical practitioners, psychologists and common people.

People need to stop terming the third genders as being ill. Even parents are misled by the healthcare system.

“My parents took a lot of trouble to cure me at first, showed me to various doctors, took me to Vellore as well,” says Sourabh Das, a transgender at Amitie Trust.

“Even doctors in Vellore did not know about transgenders and I was given electric shocks and even put in an asylum to be cured. Now my mother understands that this is not abnormal or a disease and she participates in workshops to understand it more,” added Das.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *