Newly opened clinic at RGGGH addresses third gender issues

Chennai: Aishwarya M, a transwoman from Tondiarpet, now heaves a sigh of relief, for she does not have to worry about being stuck with a quack for undergoing sex reassignment surgery.

With no fear of being mocked while queuing up for consultation, she, now waits at the newly-established third gender clinic at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH).

The facility was opened three weeks ago and functions every Fridays between 9 am and 1 pm for the welfare of transpersons.

“Although the surgery is performed in several hospitals, we are not taken care well. We consult a doctor for changing our sex, without giving any second thoughts, the doctor immediately performs and many of my community members are discharged the very next day and the treatment is not followed-up,” Aishwarya told News Today.

She further said they would be subjected to lot of troubles if the surgery is not performed well. “A few of the immediate problems that require intervention are non-stop bleeding and urinary blockages. However, our community members are not given post-operative care,” Aishwarya added.

Speaking about the clinic, RGGGH Pastic Surgery Department Head, Dr Jaganmohan said, “Although the hospital has been consulting the transpersons since a long time, the establishment of this clinic helps them consult every consultant under one roof. They need not be subjected to bully or the fear of being looked down.”

The doctor stated that a patient has to undergo at least four counselling sessions with the psychiatrist available to ensure they are not forced to believe that they are a transgender. “Since it is an irreversible surgery, we at least take one year’s time to ensure they are not influenced. During the course, the patients cross-dress (wear woman’s clothes if the patient is a transwoman) to get adjusted to the social set-up. It helps them cope with the environment,” Jaganmohan added.

Once the patient is deemed fit to undergo the surgery, the venerologist and general consultant do an overall check up. However, a legal document has to be submitted agreeing to the sex reassignment procedure. “With hormone treatment, the reproductive system can be changed before the surgery,” he stated.

With full hopes, Aishwarya now awaits to undergo the surgery and she has been prescribed to few tests. “Whole body check-up and counselling sessions are not usually done to our community members,” she added. Within two weeks’ of inauguration, it may be noted that around 12 patients have consulted at the clinic.

Bhavani Prabhakar