Chennai: Despite the State providing free medical surgeries for transgenders, most in the community do not avail themselves of the benefits of SRS (sex reassignment surgery) and prefer going to private clinics for the
According to a few transgenders, the ones who are poor get their surgeries done in these hospitals, while others prefer spending their money at private hospitals, and in cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai and some, abroad.
"Many feel that in private hospitals, the surgery would be better. Surgery in private hospitals can cost anywhere between Rs 60,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh," said a trangender, Jaya. "There are a few who can't afford the sum. So they get it done for free at government hospitals. It is the general notion that private hospitals will be a better choice," she added.
Hospitals provide breast augmentation, emasculation (removal of penis and testicles), and vaginoplasty (creation of vagina) as part of SRS.
According to P. Nirmala, HOD, Burns and Plastic Surgery Department, KMC, "We have a good team of urologists and plastic surgeons who perform the surgeries. It is a long process, which involves counselling for the first six months.
It is to ensure that the person is trapped in the wrong body, and not a cross dresser or just someone who perceives himself of the opposite gender. It also involves tests for diseases like HIV, Hepatitis C, and precautions are taken accordingly before the surgery. After the surgery, a considerable amount of time has to be spent under observation."
"All this makes the process longer. They prefer private hospitals which directly operate upon them and skip the six-month long counselling part, which is essential," said Narayana Babu, Dean, KMC.
Another transgender said: "People do get operated at government hospitals, but I know many of them who are not satisfied after the operation. The main issue is vagina which is created using surgery is not penetrable."
Another person, who underwent the surgery in 2015 at a government hospital, said: "For me, the surgery went well but I have issues urinating and some pain in the abdomen area."
Tamil Nadu is the first state in India to provide free sex change surgeries at two government hospitals, Kilpauk Medical College (KMC) Hospital and Government Hospital (GH), since 2010.