The transgender community in Bengaluru has come together to frame new guidelines that will address all the medico-legal challenges associated with Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS) at the national level.
The community believes that the procedure itself requires a lot of expertise, apart from psychological counselling, which is lacking in an Indian set up. Several traumatic cases and lack of medical expertise have prevented many transgenders from undergoing the lengthy process.
The community is assisted by medical practitioners of NIMHANS, Bengaluru Medical College and MS Ramaiah Hospital. The members altogether had their first national-level consultative meeting on Tuesday at NIMHANS towards framing the guidelines of SRS. City-based transgender organisations- Ondede and Swatantra- brought transgender representatives from various states to provide them with the much required input for framing the guidelines.
The reason for this move is further strengthened by the fact that SRS is an expensive procedure and pushes transgenders to go for cheaper procedures in the hands of unskilled practitioner. This not only leads to numerous side effects, but also lead to surgical complications.
Akkai Padmashali, co-founder of Ondede, speaking to Bangalore Mirror said, "Lack of facilities or fear about post-surgical complications could be making many avoid the surgery. Our objective is to allay those fears by bringing out a set of guidelines and help as many as possible to get treatment."
Transgenders from across the country have different opinions too. One said that the cost of SRS differs from state to state. For instance, changing from female to male costs Rs 7 lakh in New Delhi and from male to female costs Rs 3 lakh. However, states like Maharashtra and Karnataka offer similar treatments at a much lesser cost. Therefore many come to these states for surgery.
Meanwhile, doctors from NIMHANS and Bangalore Medical College revealed that currently in Karnataka transgenders are made to undergo one-year counselling before being recommended for SRS.