Transgender people in the state who are willing to change their sex will be able to get medical assistance from the state government as it has already decided to conduct sex reassignment surgery at the RG Kar Medical College and Hospital.
Under this unique initiative of the state government, the surgery would be conducted on the people whose gender could not be determined from their childhood. The surgeries would be conducted free of cost. It is a very lengthy and critical process involving many surgeries. In case one is willing to become a girl, surgeries namely, facial feminisation, breast augmentation, voice feminisation, must be done. The candidates must undergo hormone replacement therapy.
According to a senior official of the state health department, people aged between 17 and 25 and whose sex could not be determined will get the opportunity of availing the surgery if they desire
to change their sex. Those having gender identity disorder will mostly be covered under this new scheme that the health department is going to launch.
The health official said that RG Kar Medical College and Hospital is the first state run hospital in the state where such surgery would be conducted. State health department has also planned to introduce the facility in the SSKM Hospital, the only state run super-specialty hospital in Bengal. It was learnt that initially, specialist doctors from the SSKM will provide assistance to RG Kar Hospital.
If a person belonging to the third gender appeals to the state health department, a special review committee will examine the candidature and consider every aspect before allowing the applicant to undertake the sex-change surgery. The review committee will go through the candidature to check if the pre requisite criteria were met. Counselling would be given to those who will apply for sex change to prepare them mentally so that they can accept the sudden changes in their bodies. According to the senior health department officials, there is a transition period and people must accept the changes. The society also has some responsibilities so that these people never feel alienated from the society.
A nodal committee has been formed with representatives from various departments of the hospital which is examining various aspects of the new initiative. The health department has asked the RG Kar Hospital authorities to put in place the necessary infrastructure for the project. The state government will bear the entire cost of the project.
According to sources, if a person wants to change his/her sex, he/she has to spend around Rs 4-6 lakh at least, whereas the government will conduct the costly surgeries completely free of
cost. For performing such a surgery, departments like Endocrinology, genetic study, general surgery, plastic surgery, gynaecology, urology and others will all have to work together. As RG Kar Medical College and Hospital lacks some of these departments, they may take help from the SSKM Hospital.