Six members of the transgender community in Mumbai have launched a helpline in Mumbai to provide a platform for information and support for transgenders.
Two years ago, Sophie Dawud, five of her friends started a website ‘transgenderindia.com’ in Bengaluru. Today, the site provides legal and medical aid to people of the community across the country. It also offers guidelines for those who would want to perform a sex change operation, and also a guide for getting the gender changed in their legal documents.
“Since our community is ignored, people don’t really know where to go and whom to approach, which is why a lot of them do not even come out in the open. People are scared to talk about transgenders, hence, through this website, we are providing the first online platform that could cater to the needs of the transgender community,” said Sophie.
Sophie also said that transgenders in remote areas struggled to get the right information, which led them to launch a helpline service called ‘transgenie’ where users can find doctors, counselors and specialists for medical help.
Sophie spoke about the website and the helpline at Dharavi, so that more people could avail the service, and pointed out the stereotype that the society has towards the community. “We share the contact so that people can call us directly to seek help, but even then there are men who call us and ask for sex. It is unfortunate, that some people still have this kind of pre-colonial era mentality,” Sophie said.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Harrish Iyer, LGBTQ activist, said that such platforms were a necessary source of information. “There are some doctors who do not even know who transgenders are, which is why a focused source of information is absolutely important because the community doesn’t really know whom to approach. Also, the way things work in our society, transgenders require friendly psychiatrists and doctors”.