The Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Delhi has opened its doors to the city’s first transgender clinic, offering services like hormone replacement therapy and gender reassignment surgeries. The clinic aims to provide a safe and inclusive space for transgender individuals to discuss their therapies and receive proper medical care without fear of judgment or discrimination.
For many transgender individuals like Leela, the clinic is a significant step towards destigmatizing their experiences and providing them with the care they need. Leela, dressed in a black and white striped dress and two-inch heels, expressed her relief at finding a place where she can discuss her feminization process and undergo procedures like laser hair removal. She believes that this small step takes away a giant stigma and provides a much-needed acknowledgment for her kind.
The transgender clinic, located at the extreme left side of the hospital’s OPD block, is staffed by three doctors who share a consultation room. They provide counseling for transitioning patients and guide them through the various procedures available, including cosmetic services such as laser hair removal, breast reductions, and gender reassignment surgeries. While some procedures will be conducted at existing specialty clinics, the hospital intends to establish dedicated facilities for transgender individuals.
The opening of this clinic is a significant development for the transgender community, as there are currently no dedicated clinics for transgender people in private hospitals, let alone government-run ones. Transgender individuals often have to queue up with everyone else in regular clinics, attracting attention and causing discomfort. The presence of this clinic means the world to people like Leela and others who are navigating their identities amid various challenges.
One such individual is Keshav, who describes the transgender clinic as a “gift from God.” Keshav, who was born a woman, has been saving up for years to undergo a hysterectomy and have his uterus removed. He had previously undergone breast removal surgery, which he had to pay a significant amount for in a private hospital. The cost of ongoing hormone injections and the prospect of additional surgeries make it challenging for Keshav to save up. However, he is hopeful that the government’s support will make these procedures more accessible and affordable for the transgender community.
Muskan Nazz, who works in human resources at an IT firm, also sees the promise of an affordable gender reassignment surgery as a source of hope. While she can afford hormone replacement therapy, the cost of a sex reassignment surgery remains out of reach for her. Nazz emphasizes that for some individuals, transitioning happens in phases, with the cumulative cost becoming overwhelming. She plans to come out to her parents in Bihar once she completes her physical transformation.
Aside from the medical procedures and counseling, the transgender clinic also features a gender-neutral washroom, which has been highly appreciated by patients. This provision addresses a significant concern for transgender individuals who often face discrimination when seeking employment or accessing public facilities.
On the opening day of the clinic, 30 people sought consultations for skin enhancement and hormone replacement therapy. However, many patients hope that the clinic will expand to offer more specialized services. They believe that if a dedicated facility has been created for transgender individuals, all the necessary services should be made available within it. Currently, they have to queue at various clinics and pharmacies, attracting unwanted attention and making their experience uncomfortable.
The transgender clinic at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital is a significant step towards providing proper medical care and support for transgender individuals in Delhi. It is a beacon of hope and inclusivity, offering services that were previously inaccessible or unaffordable for many. The presence of a government-run transgender clinic reflects a positive shift in society’s perception and treatment of transgender individuals, helping them on their journey to self-discovery and acceptance.