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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Mumbai based trans activist Unwelcome in womens or mens wards just give us separate ward

Mumbai-based trans activist: Unwelcome in women’s or men’s wards; just give us separate ward

Updated on: 30 January,2024 01:50 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Diwakar Sharma , Apoorva Agashe |

While far-flung Ulhas Nagar has a dedicated hospital ward for trans people, Mumbai and other areas lag behind if these stories by those affected are to go by

Mumbai-based trans activist: Unwelcome in women’s or men’s wards; just give us separate ward

Dr Pawan Yadav with the two receipts issued to her. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Hamari majboori samjho… we also want to lead a normal life. Social stigma needs to be broken for the equality of trans people,” said a transgender activist. According to the activist, trans people have been facing discrimination in every walk of life despite the Centre implementing the Transgender Persons Act in 2019.

Transgender people have unanimously demanded a separate help desk at all public places like hospitals, police stations, toilets, etc. Other than general healthcare needs, the third gender people who undergo certain operations for breast implants and Sex Reassignment Surgeries (SRS) face health complications for which they need to regularly visit hospitals. But there is no separate ward for them in Mumbai and adjacent districts. 

‘Hide identity for treatment’

Transgender activist, Advocate Dr Pawan Yadav visited a hospital in Goregaon East where she was asked to conceal her identity for treatment. “The help desk person used ‘Mr’ before my name. When I objected, another receipt was made with ‘Ms’. I told them I am transgender and was told no transgender has ever visited the hospital. I was made to pay R330 for each receipt and lost R660. I had to return without getting treatment,” Yadav, India’s first transgender doctorate (social welfare), said.

Yadav was forced to go to a chemist shop and get medicines without a prescription. “I know it’s not advisable, but what to do?” she said.

Not taken seriously

According to Yadav, even the Mumbai police don’t take their complaints seriously. “We demand a separate helpline number,” she said.

Yadav alleged that many trans people are slipping into depression as they do not receive proper medical treatment. “The government must make a provision to give us a separate ward at every state hospital.”

There are also no separate washrooms for trans people at public places. “We have to enter the women’s washroom to relieve ourselves, but we are not females… we have our own identity but as there is no facility we are forced to compromise,” Yadav said.

“A district-wise panel should be formed to address our issues. We want our presence in the Mohalla Community. Why should we be knocking on the doors of any other social activists for help when we are capable of fighting for our own rights,” Yadav added.

Other discrimination cases

Like Dr Yadav, other trans people have faced social discrimination at Kalwa-based Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital. The social group—Kinnar Asmita Foundation—has written to its dean Dr Rakesh Barot seeking a separate ward. “Our community faces a lot of discrimination in the hospital. Men and women get uncomfortable when there are patients from our community. Transgender patients also get uncomfortable, so we wrote a letter and the dean has promised some action.” said Simran Siha, of Kinnar Asmita.

According to a transgender person, people of the community usually have to visit either Sion hospital or J J hospital as they have separate wards there. “But it is not always possible to travel so far. Hence we demanded a separate ward in Kalwa hospital,” she said. After a ward was set up in Ulhasnagar’s Central Hospital, the community is optimistic.

Another victim of discrimination said she visited Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital some months ago for treatment where she was initially put in the women’s emergency ward. “This made the women uncomfortable and I was shifted to the men’s ward. Later, I was asked to sit separately. The doctors were confused about the situation. I was denied basic human rights,” Sheela (name changed) said, adding that she had to be shifted to a private hospital.

Sheela said she was denied treatment despite her condition being serious. She then contacted Kinnar Asmita and was shifted to a private hospital in Neral. “I had to shell out a huge sum for a bed. After talking to others in my community it was decided to write a letter to Kalwa hospital authorities,” she said.

A ray of hope

The community is awaiting a separate transgender ward in Kalwa. “Around 2,000 [trans] people live in Kalwa and nearby areas. It’s always not possible for us to go to Sion hospital or J J hospital,” said Simran.

Simran said a few days ago some people stuffed a cloth in Saloni’s mouth and threw her off a bridge. Passersby alerted the foundation but the ambulance didn’t arrive on time. “We were worried for her health but were hesitant to take her to Kalwa hospital and hence she was taken to Ulhasnagar’s Central hospital. She is being treated for multiple injuries on her legs and spine and is not in a position to talk. Hence we decided to write a letter,” she said.

The foundation has demanded a separate five-bed ward, hormone therapy and mental health assistance from the municipal hospital.

“Members of the community had approached us on January 27 and have assured them that we will provide a separate OPD in the hospital when we expand in 4-5 months,” said Dr Rakesh Barot, dean of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital.

While the Ulhasnagar hospital’s ward is functional for transgenders, the community has been demanding a urology centre. “There is a lot of awareness about the separate ward in Ulhasnagar and hence we go there for treatment on a regular basis. However, we have asked for a doctor specialising in urology to visit the hospital at least twice a week. Our community has a lot of problems and it needs medical assistance,” Simran said.

Need for more facilities

The Kinnar Asmita Foundation has also demanded hormone therapy and mental health assistance from both municipal hospitals.

“The community gets motivated to see if someone is going through hormone therapy. Sometimes people take medicines on their own and hence a hormone therapy centre becomes more essential in both hospitals. We are optimistic that both the hospitals will provide us with the same. At the same time, we have asked for mental health assistance as many people from the community go through immense trauma. Some people go through sex change operations and hence mental health assistance should be available for all,” said Simran.

The Kinnar Asmita Foundation had raised campaigns to create awareness about the separate ward in Ulhasnagar. “We were happy about this development and we had created awareness campaigns about the availability of a separate ward. We have requested the members of our community not to clap in the ward. We want to be treated equally in the world,” said Neeta Kene, founder, Kinnar Asmita.

“Since the inauguration of the ward on December 9, we at least see one patient a week in the separate ward. We are currently searching for endocrinologist who can provide hormone therapy to the community. We strive to give adequate healthcare facilities to our patients,” said Dr Manohar Bansode, dean, Ulhasnagar Central Hospital.

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