Transforming Identity: New Pehchan Issue Brief on Gender Transition Services in India

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Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) and cross-sex hormonal therapy are two essential health services required for Male-to-Female (MtF) transgender people to help them align their bodies with their gender identity. Available evidence indicates a near lack of gender identity-related services in even tertiary-level government hospitals, and the offerings in private hospitals are typically unaffordable. This gap persuades many MtF transgender people to seek surgical services from unqualified medical practitioners and face a dangerously high level of complications and inadequate counselling and care.

As part of its advocacy efforts, our Global Fund-supported Pehchan programme documented the current situation for MtF transgender people in India with respect to their access to and use of health services related to gender transition. Based on this study, Pehchan has published a new issue brief, Transforming Identity: Access to Gender Transition Services for Male-to-Female Transgender People in India, which summarizes the research findings, describes barriers, and offers suggestions to improve access to these necessary health services.

Read the complete brief here.


The author of this post, Yadavendra Singh, is Senior Programme Officer: Capacity Building for Alliance India’s Pehchan Programme.

With support from the Global Fund, Pehchan builds the capacity of 200 community-based organisations (CBOs) for men who have sex with men (MSM), transgenders and hijras in 17 states in India to be more effective partners in the government’s HIV prevention programme. By supporting the development of strong CBOs, Pehchan will address some of the capacity gaps that have often prevented CBOs from receiving government funding for much-needed HIV programming. Named Pehchan which in Hindi means ‘identity’, ‘recognition’ or ‘acknowledgement,’ this programme is implemented by India HIV/AIDS Alliance in consortium with Humsafar Trust, PNRO, SAATHII, Sangama, and SIAAP and will reach 453,750 MSM, transgenders and hijras by 2015. It is the Global Fund’s largest single-country grant to date focused on the HIV response for vulnerable sexual minorities.

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