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Sex reconstruction surgery on transgenders July 2, 2007

Posted by qmediawatch in Chennaionline, Online/New Media.
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http://www.chennaionline.com/colnews/newsitem.asp?NEWSID={3CD0136A-5443-4A20-A83\1-D1D1AD81F9D1}&CATEGORYNAME=CHN

 Chennai, July 2: For the first time in the country, a government hospital in
Tamil Nadu will perform sex reconstruction surgery on transgenders this
week, marking an end to their ordeal at the hands of quacks.

In the first batch, eight transgenders are slated to undergo the surgery at
the government hospital in Vellore district on July 5.

The surgeries will be performed free of cost following a government order
issued by the Social Welfare Department in April last.

Since sex change was not legal in the country, transgenders had been
thronging quacks to remove their genital organs.

Due to unscientific surgical processes followed by quacks, many transgenders
had developed complications like urinary infections and allergies.

In one or two cases, people had died too, South India Positive Network
president S Noori told reporters.

Tamil Nadu has an estimated population of 60,000 transgenders of whom 50 per
cent had undergone the sex reconstruction surgery.

They throng quacks practising in Cuddapah in Andhra Pradesh and Dindigul in
Tamil Nadu and shell out about Rs 10,000 to remove their genitals.

Noori said a majority of transgenders work as commercial sex workers to eke
out a living and it was a Herculean task for them to pay Rs 10,000 for the
surgery. Conceding the demand of transgenders, the state government had
announced that sex reconstruction surgeries would be performed in all
government hospitals free of cost.

Besides undergoing medical tests, including for HIV, the transgenders
selected for the surgery on July 5 also attended counselling sessions as a
preparation to the physical transformation.

Soundarya, a transgender, said, “I’ve always felt like a woman mentally and
I am eagerly awaiting the day to undergo the surgery and physically
transform myself into a woman. We’re grateful to the Tamil Nadu government
for understanding our sorry state of affairs and issuing such a landmark
order. We hope other states will also follow suit.”

A second batch of transgenders was being screened to undergo the surgery,
official sources said. (Our Correspondent)

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