This is a guest post by Indrani Kar, Shuvojit Moulik & Somya Tyagi
Any dominant, mainstream model undoes the very idea of multiple modes of living and diversity which excludes the real demands of the minority groups and contributes to their social exclusion. Whereas everyone is entitled to equal and inalienable rights and opportunities set forth in the Preamble to the Constitution of India without distinction of any kind, such commitments are yet to be translated into action. Although Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees ‘Right to life and personal liberty’ to all, of which the Right to Healthcare forms an integral part, a large section of the society is still insensitive to the healthcare needs of the transgender community.
The transgender population faces grave misunderstanding, prejudice, harassment, ridicule, rejection and even exploitation at the hands of health service providers as they do not fit into the society’s prescribed, rigid gender roles. Though the transgender community is hardly a homogeneous entity and is considerably diverse in terms of gender identity and livelihoods, in public imagination such complex identities of gender ranging from hijra to transgender are all lumped into one category, which becomes extremely problematic. Unfortunately, government policies also seem to feed on these generalisations, making use of such umbrella terms rather than focus on the specific needs of different groups.