Next month, Andheri will get its first Gender Reassignment Clinic at Kolkilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. The clinic will cater to those who suffer from dysphoria – a gender identity disorder. Such patients face a conflict between their actual gender and the gender they identify with — and want to undergo sex reassignment surgery.
In June, Kokilaben hospital plans to host an All India Transgender Community Meet. “We neither want to encourage nor discourage people. We want them to have a clinic they can come to and discuss their issues,” said Dr Sanjay Pandey, consulting uro-andrologist, at Kokilaben hospital who has conducted 40 sex reassignment surgeries.
“Sex change surgery is not like any other routine surgery. It involves a multidisciplinary approach. These patients are healthy but want to undergo surgery to better their lives.”
Doctors involved in the treatment of gender dysphoria include a psychiatrist (for psychiatric evaluation), a team of surgeons including a plastic surgeon, urologist and gynaecologist and an endocrinologist. “These patients need rehabilitation post surgery and hormone replacement therapy for lifetime,” said Dr Dheeraj Kapoor, consulting endocrinologist, Kokilaben hospital.
Some doctors said they had faced opposition and sometimes even threats from families of patients seeking a sex change surgery. Recently, the father of Bidhan Barua, 21, who wants to undergo a sex change surgery, threatened Dr Kaplesh Gajjiwala, a plastic surgeon at Saifee Hospital, with a legal notice if he performed the surgery. Dr Gajjiwala refused to conduct the surgery on Barua.
“In our online forum, plastic surgeons are discussing how these threats are unwarranted. We have faced opposition from family members, but this case is extreme,” said Dr Anand Joshi, a plastic surgeon.
“Once a patient’s mother threatened to immolate herself if the psychiatrist gave her son a fitness certificate for sex re-assignment surgery. We were quite terrified. The patient did not come back,” said Dr Gurvinder Kalra, lecturer, psychiatry department, Sion Hospital.