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Bridging the Deficit: 24 Year Old West Bengal Transwoman Jiya to Become Paramedics

Jiya and Debdutta are studying hard with a batch of 50 paramedical course trainees to equip themselves with the right set of skills for a stable career

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A transwoman paramedic
Tempo Trax LWB Ambulance, Bangalore 2010. Wikimedia Commons
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  • Transwoman from West Bengal is blazing a trail of success as a trainee in an operation theatre (OT) technician’s course
  • They are learning about anatomy, infection control, how OTs function and things needed to run an OT among others
  • The course fee of Rs 25,000 for a year has been waived for Jiya and Debdutta

Aug 16, 2017: Twenty-four-year-old Jiya was once forced to dance at gunpoint. Now the plucky transwoman from West Bengal is blazing a trail of success as a trainee in an operation theatre (OT) technician’s course Thanks to a collective effort by queer activists, social workers and healthcare experts, along with Jiya, transwoman Debdutta is also being trained to become an OT technician, not only empowering her community but also bridging the deficit in India’s paramedical personnel sector.

At the School for Skills: Allied Health Sciences located in the Sirona Hospital Group premises in East Midnapore district’s Panskura, Jiya and Debdutta are studying hard with a batch of 50 paramedical course trainees to equip themselves with the right set of skills for a stable career.

“Usually people have an idea that transgenders beg, dance for livelihood. I come from a very poor family and despite being a graduate, I had to face obstruction to eke out a living due to my gender identity. I started to dance in Bihar villages… this continued for three to four years. I also earned money through painting alpanas (traditionl patterns) in villages,” Jiya told IANS.

“Now, I feel we have a choice for a career,” said Jiya, who hails from Malda.

“The idea was to have freedom of choice. Just because they are transgender, it doesn’t mean they are not educated and can only beg for a livelihood. They now have an option to be a part of the technical staff of a hospital,” said Mimo Koushik, who identifies himself as queer and is a social entrepreneur with the NGO Prantakatha.

Koushik, also the founder of Sathrangi, a transfeminine clothing, home decor and stationery brand, said the transwomen are being trained free of cost as part of a pilot.

“If we can give them access to opportunity then they can be skilled and trained to work in the healthcare sector. The sector needs people in large numbers and the working conditions are dignified for women,” said Satadal Saha, a general surgeon, also the CEO of the hospital group.

The course fee of Rs 25,000 for a year has been waived for Jiya and Debdutta.

Upon completion, they will be placed with the hospital, said Saha, who is spearheading the training programme along with his team as part of JSV Innovations, that works towards livelihood creation among rural youth with low formal education through training and skilling of a large number of allied health professionals.

Also Read: India becoming more Transgender- Friendly: Read this report 

“Initially, we have taken only two from the community under our wing. We did not know how they would feel… how others would feel and how they will cope with the course. From the next batch, we will able to take in more students. They are learning very fast and it is encouraging to see how they have accepted everyone and everyone has accepted them… they never sit alone… they are surrounded by friends,” said Saha.

They are learning about anatomy, infection control, how OTs function and things needed to run an OT among others, said Saha. The course is affiliated with the National Skill Development Corporation. The hospital takes care of boarding and lodging.

According to Bappaditya Mukherjee of Prantakatha, their training also ensures the creation of infrastructure for the community.

“Often in hospital settings, doctors have inhibitions about treating transgender patients, so having trained people from the community would ensure access to treatment,” Mukherjee said.

As for Jiya, there is no looking back now. (IANS)

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Eating disorder can be treated in transgenders

Hormone treatment can turn down dissatisfaction that leads to eating disorders

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Study finds hormone treatment can cure eating disorders in transgenders. Wikimedia commons
Study finds hormone treatment can cure eating disorders in transgenders. Wikimedia commons
  • Western society’s obsession with idealized body shapes are linked to eating disorders.
  • Transgenders live in a dissatisfaction related to their body shape and weight.
  • Hormone therapy is a way of countering this situation.

A study finds, hormone therapy can help in reducing the symptoms of eating disorders such as anorexia and binge-eating among transgenders.

Western society’s obsession with an idealized image of beauty fueled a deep-seated unhappiness within people regarding their body. This directly links to eating disorders like self-induced vomiting and misuse of diet pills.

Transgenders live with a dissatisfaction related to their body shape and weight, which makes them vulnerable to developing eating disorders.

Western obsession of 'perfect' body shapes incites dissatisfaction. Wikimedia commons
The western obsession with ‘perfect’ body shapes incites dissatisfaction. Wikimedia Commons

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Researchers found that hormone treatment can improve this situation, tone down levels of perfectionism and anxiety. It can boost self-esteem and alleviate eating disorder symptoms.

“Young transgender people may restrict their food as a way to control their puberty, stop their period or reduce the development of breasts. Hormone treatment might be able to improve eating disorder symptoms in this population,” said Jon Arcelus, Professor at the University of Nottingham in the UK.

The team surveyed more than 560 transgenders, over the age of 17 years, 139 of which began the hormone treatment.

Transgenders have high-tendency of developing eating disorders. Wikimedia commons
Transgenders have high-tendency of developing eating disorders. Wikimedia commons

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The results showed that those not taking the hormone treatment were significantly more likely to report their need to be thin and be dissatisfied with their physique which further affected personal relationships and depression and anxiety.

Thus, eating disorder professionals should consider the gender identity of the person when assessing a person with symptoms of an eating disorder, the study suggested.

The study was published in journal European Eating Disorders Review. (IANS)