The differences between third gender individuals, trans men, trans women and non-conforming people of other genders can be confusing to outsiders. Many consider third gender to be simply transgender, although many other gender non-conforming identities also fall under this umbrella, and there are others who argue against using “third” gender. The main difference between trans identity and transgender identity is that trans people have the freedom to identify as trans. To be recognized as a eunuch must be part of a long process of eunuch rituals that are not yet recognized by Indian law. The general trans population in India does not follow this internal social order, they do not live together as a community with common interests like transgenders. Also, the trans male is not part of the transgender community.
The trans-men community is still very much covered in India. A trans male is a person who declares to be female at birth. At the level of policy formulation or at the level of their sexual/reproductive health needs, they are as if they do not exist. This lack of representation has left trans men in India largely excluded from the LGBTQ policy framework. This has led to a lack of awareness and representation of this community in ongoing mediation programs. There is little medical research and information about trans men in India. Their sexual health is incorporated into women’s reproductive plans. In a male-dominated society, women’s desires and family plans often remain limited to mother-child and maternal plans, which are formed from heteronormative ideas.
Also, families with a strong hatred of homosexuals and trans people and attempts at forced marriage and transmutation. There the violence against these communities remains hidden. This condition is one of the most important and unexplored among the social causes of the impact on your health. This makes them more vulnerable to threats.
Extreme hatred of homosexuals and trans people
According to my research, the trans male community faces many difficulties in being female at birth and the challenges of gender-based parenting. In the process, their autonomy, expression and freedom are severely curtailed. This community is also marginalized in LGBTQ issues due to society’s attitude towards people who are declared female at birth. Due to social and family pressures, they are less likely to move and have less authority over their lives and decisions than men. Similarly, the lack of places where members of this community can come together, even to communicate safely online, can leave them isolated and unable to connect with the larger LGBTQ community. As a result, many of these people hide their truth for fear of being rejected and left alone.
A 2015 Kerala transgender survey found that most of them wanted to change their physical appearance, but 80% of them received no support. In October 2021, the Government of India launched a flagship scheme ‘Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana’ (PM-JAY), in which healthcare of five lakh rupees per family was provided in all hospitals government and private affiliates. Under this, it was announced that under the new scheme ‘Support to Marginalized People for Life and Enterprise (SMILE)’, the transgender population will also be included. This health support will include health support and screening for transgender people. However, in the current situation, how this announcement will materialize and what will be the structural challenges to benefit from this scheme, it is difficult to say. Additionally, existing health insurance does not cover gender-positive surgeries, subsequent procedures, and their costs. Since it’s all considered “cosmetic,” it doesn’t require surgery.
Also, sexual support items such as binders (transgender lingerie) and prostheses (prostheses) are not available in this country and many people cannot afford them. Many trans men rely on their group’s internal networks for binders. Some people in this community have started supplying it. Some consumers bought binders online, but their quality was extremely poor. The materials used to make them were not suitable for hot and humid countries like India and I used to sweat a lot in summer.
However, many people in the trans-men community are coming out on media such as social media. They create awareness and provide information on online platforms for trans men to address their physical health needs. Like youtube or other social media groups or whatsapp groups etc. Therefore, in order to truly reach the trans-men community and prioritize their health-related needs, it is essential to have successful programs to reach and engage them at the grassroots in a planned manner. In these, new and safe digital spaces must be created to stand alongside different communities on queer issues. Through this capacity building can be done in many trans men.
(Ina Goel is a freelance writer and Ladli Media Fellow 2022. Ina is pursuing her PhD in the Department of Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prior to this, she did her M.Phil in Social Medicine and Community Health from JNU (New Delhi) and an MA from the University of Social Work, Delhi.The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and have nothing to do with Ladli and UNFPA.)